â€œThereâ€™s a resistance saying that armed ground robots are not ready for the battlefield. Iâ€™m not of that camp,â€
– Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch
Perhaps underscoring the old adage that “to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” Lieutenant General Rick Lynch, who holds a masters degree in robotics, is pretty sure all his problems in Iraq could be solved with a massive army of battle droids.
Lt. Gen. Lynch is now claiming that 80 percent of the soldiers who died under his command could have been saved if only he had enough killbots.
“There’s got to be a sense of urgency here,” Lynch noted, “I am so tired of going to demonstrations.”
Lynch is also hoping to deploy heavily armed robots to places where he suspects IEDs might be planted to “kill those bastards before they plant the IEDs.” It has to be noted, however, that US forces killed several farmers in Afghanistan this summer because they couldn’t tell the difference between IEDs and cucumbers, and question if the robots are any more observant.
Following a flurry of reports that a Pentagon contractor’s foraging robotic platform would be feasting on the corpses of slain soldiers, the company in question Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. has issued a press release hoping to clear up the matter.
“We completely understand the publicâ€™s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population,” Cyclone’s CEO said in what must be the most bizarre comment in a press release ever, assuring that the platform was an attempt to “create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter.” The killer robots will, according to the press release, be strict vegetarians.
It does not appear clear from the company’s previous documents regarding to product why the killbots should be unable to consume flesh, let alone human flesh, and indeed the limitation may be purely for the sake of public relations. It has a legal aspect too, as the Geneva Conventions ban the desecration of the dead during time of war. Presumably consumption by a kill-mad battle droid would count as “desecration.”
Given that recent US wars have been fought in barren deserts and urban cityspaces, it seems difficult to imagine that the robots will find plentiful plant matter to consume.
Will Future US Military Vehicles, Robots Feast on the Flesh of the Slain?
The real downside to the Pentagon’s planned army of merciless killbots, besides the inevitable robot rebellion (which the Pentagon is spending billions trying to head off) is all that fuel. Robots need really big batteries, or internal combustion engines, or something. No matter how they’re powered though, it’s not free. Until now.
A Pentagon contractor in Maryland is now working on a robot that can forage for its own food. It could use any biomass in the area. And lets face it, in any really big war there’s plenty of biomass just lying around all shot up or bombed to death and not doing anything for the war effort. So the robots, and potentially vehicles based on the same design, will be feeding off the flesh of slain humans to continue on their mission to slay humans and feed off their flesh.
Besides the obvious ethical issues of creating man-eating, killer robots (which presumably don’t concern the Pentagon any more than the non-man-eating but still killer robots did), the plan will also raise serious concerns about the reliability of body counts. It is difficult enough to get an accurate death toll out of the military when villages present the bodies to local officials. Imagine the skepticism if the villagers have to explain that Pentagon battle droids consumed all the slain villagers and sped off for more mayhem.
We’ve already mentioned Israel’s quest to build an army of vicious robotic animals destined to go all Matrix and put all of humanity into pods to fuel their cold, sterile robotic society. Turns out the United States is way ahead of them.
Its no secret that the United States has been spending hundreds of billions of dollars to create its own obedient army of killer robots. But perhaps interested in staving off the eventual robot rebellion (or maybe they just saw one of the Terminator movies), the Pentagon is also investing $4 billion in a research program to make sure this new army doesn’t do anything that might violate the Geneva Conventions. The military has high hopes that its next generation of autonomous killbots, designed without emotions, will be immune to the temptations to engage in revenge killings, and torture of enemy combatants.