March on Daddy WarBot ... Warbot Daddy on March

On March 2, 2007 a group of antiwar protesters in Pittsburg are planning a blockade of CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center. The reason for this is of course CMU's continued and prolific war robotics programs and the enormous amount of funding CMU gets from DARPA, ONR, and other DoD and defense contractor sources. The device most highlighted by the group is the Gladiator remote controlled tank developed for the Marine Corps Systems Command in colaboration with BAE Systems.

Many robotics enthusiasts, I among them, have turned a mostly blind eye to the non-autonomous remote controlled robotic war machines and the research into them. Their goal has after all been not to create smart killing machines, but to separate our soldiers from the fight and out of harm's way. The point however brought up here and in this recent article is not about the intentions of the robots but instead what will the intentions be of the humans when going to war doesn't put any of your people in harm's way. If all we have to loose is some money and a few spare microcontrolers, then why not invade? Will remote control robot armies represent the new atomic arms race? After all, the only things that could stop nations from launching a robot army are Ethics, Economics, and an Even Bigger Robot Army.

As we raise generations of kids who think nothing of clicking their opponents into oblivion separating people from the reality of the death and destruction they can cause is the last thing we should do. That's why I promote the use of superhuman exoskeletons. Let's get an army of these puppies to march on CMU and see if we get a response. Additionally more researchers should be taking the stance of Prof. Sankai at the University of Tsukuba. Despite naming his company after the creators of SkyNet in the Terminator movies his HAL exoskeleton was built only after he refused DARPA funding. Note the distinct lack of weapons on this one. What on earth could it be used for then? Why, as a walking wheelchair and heavy lifting device of course!

In Unrelated news the city of Kobe, Japan is commisioning a 60 foot tall replica of Gigantor, the giant remote controled war machine of manga fame. In that fictional case the bot was created to defend Japan's WWII empire from the invading Americans, only for it to fall into the hands of a young boy who used it for good. Unfortunately in reality it appears we are heading in the opposite direction.

For more info on the March march go here.

Thanks to Robot Gossip and Loving the Machine.

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