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Runaway Armed MQ-9 Reaper Drone Shot Down

An armed MQ-9 Reaper drone UAV went rogue over Afghanistan last Sunday, forcing the U.S. Air Force to scramble a manned U.S. aircraft to shoot it down. The unresponsive drone eventually crashed into the side of a mountain.


(Armed MQ-9 Reaper Hunter/Killer UAV)

The MQ-9 Reaper is not a fully autonomous drone, but it is capable of some autonomous behaviors. For example, it can be told to loiter over a particular area, or fly over territory in a set route.

Although the MQ-9 Reaper is not fully autonomous, watching these armed robotic systems go out of control may remind sf readers (and movie goers) of certain cautionary tales. Consider the story of ED-209 from the futuristic 1987 movie Robocop.


(ED 209 needs more work)

"The Enforcement Droid series 209 is a self-sufficient law enforcement robot. The 209 is currently programmed for urban pacification, but that is only the beginning. After a tour of duty in Old Detroit, we can expect 209 to become the hot military product of the next decade..."

The term robocop predates the movie; it was used in Wanted in Surgery, a 1957 story by Harlan Ellison.

In a related story, see how researchers are struggling to equip autonomous robots with ethical behavior using prospective logic to help them make life-and-death decisions about people.

Via Popular Science.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/15/2009)

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