Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Robot Wars

A British expert on robotic weaponry warns that they could soon become an affordable weapon of choice for terrorists and insurgents. From Reuters:

Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield said he believed falling costs would soon make robots a realistic option for extremist groups.
Several countries and companies are developing the technology for robot weapons, with the U.S. Department of Defense leading the way. More than 4,000 robots are deployed in Iraq.

"The trouble is that we can't really put the genie back in the bottle. Once the new weapons are out there, they will be fairly easy to copy," Sharkey will tell a one-day conference organised by the Royal United Services Institute on Wednesday.

"How long is it going to be before the terrorists get in on the act? With the current prices of robot construction falling dramatically and the availability of ready-made components for the amateur market, it wouldn't require a lot of skill to make autonomous robot weapons."

Sharkey says a GPS guided drone could be produced for about $500.


WesternGrit said...

Sure, terrorists "could" copy drones and other robotic technology, however, when they can easily find suicide bombers, why worry about the cost of a robot? I mean, c'mon, the suicide bombers don't need to get paid - they are lining up to get strapped in. I think this scientist is just part of the alarmist camp - trying to perpetuate the fear that pervades society today - especially American society.

The Mound of Sound said...

With GPS guidance they wouldn't be using these things to bomb crowds in a market but for higher value targets. How many RPGs do you have to squander to blow $500?