David Kirkpatrick

September 10, 2010

Deceptive robots

Via KurzweilAI.net — Not too sure if I like this idea. Seems like we’re already heading down the path of breaking Asimov’s robotic laws with a lot of milbots in development and practice.

From the link:

We have developed  algorithms that allow a robot to determine whether it should deceive a human or other intelligent machine and we have designed techniques that help the robot select the best deceptive strategy to reduce its chance of being discovered,” said Ronald Arkin, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing.

The results of robot experiments and theoretical and cognitive deception modeling were published online on September 3 in the International Journal of Social Robotics. Because the researchers explored the phenomenon of robot deception from a general perspective, the study’s results apply to robot-robot and human-robot interactions. This research was funded by the Office of Naval Research.

In the future, robots capable of deception may be valuable for several different areas, including military and search and rescue operations. A search and rescue robot may need to deceive in order to calm or receive cooperation from a panicking victim. Robots on the battlefield with the power of deception will be able to successfully hide and mislead the enemy to keep themselves and valuable information safe.

“Most social robots will probably rarely use deception, but it’s still an important tool in the robot’s interactive arsenal because robots that recognize the need for deception have advantages in terms of outcome compared to robots that do not recognize the need for deception,” said the study’s co-author, Alan Wagner, a research engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

June 2, 2010

Robotics news — LittleDog and a warrior PackBot

Both via KurzweilAI.net

First up is LittleDog, complete with very cool, if not a bit creepy video:

New “Brains” For LittleDog
Technology Review, May 27, 2010

The small four-legged robot LittleDog, from Boston Dynamics, has acquired an impressive array of improved locomotion skills thanks to researchers at the University of Southern California.

Read Original Article>>

And next is iRobot’s warrior bot:

iRobot Demonstrates New Weaponized Robot
IEEE Spectrum, May 30, 2010

iRobot has released new video of its Warrior robot, a beefed up version of the more well-known PackBot, designed for “deliberate breaching of anti-personnel minefields and multi-strand wire obstacles.”

Read Original Article>>

October 28, 2009

The latest in military robots

Filed under: Politics, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:17 pm

Anyone remember BigDog, the four-legged military robot from Boston Dynamics that many found a bit creepy?  Meet Petman, the two-legged cousin of BigDog.

From the Technology Review link:

The company that created BigDog–a headless robotic pack mule with an impressively realistic gait–recently released a video of another robot, Petman.

This bipedal bot walks on two legs and can recover from a push, using the same balancing technology that allows BigDog to recover from a kick or keep its balance when walking on ice.

While BigDog was designed to carry payloads for soldiers in the field, Petman will be used for military chemical suit research. In the final version, which should be ready in 2011, Petman will have a range of motions. According to the company:

Unlike previous suit testers, which had to be supported mechanically and had a limited repertoire of motion, PETMAN will balance itself and move freely; walking, crawling and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents.

January 6, 2009

Prep for our military robot overlords …

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:40 pm

… any day now. I’m not holding my breath.

Only a few troops, perhaps 1 percent, will actually direct aimed fire at the enemy with the intent to kill. These troops are treasured, and set apart, and called snipers.

Armed robots will all be snipers. Stone-cold killers, every one of them. They will aim with inhuman precision and fire without human hesitation. They will not need bonuses to enlist or housing for their families or expensive training ranges or retirement payments. Commanders will order them onto battlefields that would mean certain death for humans, knowing that the worst to come is a trip to the shop for repairs. The writing of condolence letters would become a lost art.

No human army could withstand such an onslaught. Such an adversary would present the enemy with the simple choice of martyrdom or flight. So equipped, America’s military would be irresistible in battle.

I found the above link at the Unreligious Right (a great blog, by the way) and this sums up my sentiments.

From the second link:

There are many problems with Pike’s theories that just leap out at the reader. Pilotless drones and other unmanned vehicles are not the same thing as self-directing robots capable of replacing humans. Unless Pike has classified information on these robots not available to the general public, the technology for the type of robot army he describes simply does not exist, and is unlikely to appear in the next few years. His entire article appears to be based on the military equivalent of vaporware. But even if such technology did exist, his other assertions are also way off-base. Pike argues that “no human army” could stand against a robot “onslaught,” and that anyone facing such a force would have a “simple choice of martyrdom or flight.” I find it difficult to believe that someone like John Pike, with his knowledge of military affairs, would make such a ridiculous unfounded assertion. Any weapon system has weaknesses and can be defeated by human ingenuity, or other factors unforseen by the creator of the wonder weapon. And the idea that the U.S. could suddenly deploy a completely irresistable robot army, of the type Pike envisions, doesnot even qualify as good science fiction, let alone a reasonable real-world military prediction.