Friday, October 16, 2009

A Really Bad Idea

Lt. Gen. Lynch Growing Tired of Waiting for His Droid Army from

Lt.Gen. Rick Lynch, the "new chief of the Army’s Installation Management Command" recently spoke at a trade conference ....

Not only has the Army failed to field the right kinds of robots that would save war fighters’ lives, it has not fielded any robots to Iraq or Afghanistan at all, he said at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Washington, D.C.

That claim may have come as a shock to those at the conference. Hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles fly over the two theaters of operations today. The exploits of the explosive ordnance disposal teams and the robots they employ to clear roadside bombs are well known. But Lynch doesn’t consider those devices robots because they require humans to control them remotely.

“I’m talking about a system that has a certain degree of autonomy,” he said.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that. For years, the best brains in science fiction have been thinking about this very issue, and not one of them has ever come up with even the slightest possible thing that could go wrong with the idea of armed and autonomous robots. Maybe as long as they don't do automatic target recognition ...

That includes the robot autonomously firing the weapon or, in other words, shooting without a human in the decision loop, he said. SWORDS never had that feature, and the idea of armed autonomous robots firing guns on the battlefield remains controversial. But Lynch was steadfast.

“I believe we can do automatic target recognition ... to allow that capability. Autonomously,” he repeated.

All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. This is the beginning of a long chain of events that will eventually lead to the destruction of the 12 colonies. As it was before, it is Lt. Gen. Lynch of Earth who drives the creation of the first independent fighting robots. Or, as they will later be known to all of the galaxy, the first Cylons.


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