Humans 'v' Robots (aka Robo-Troopers)

After my last blog linking to the Guardian’s coverage of useful robots, the BBC web site has a story about US troops using machine gun armed robots in Iraq which are also described in the Guardian so it looks like if you want to keep ahead of the abuse of tech, read these web sites (as well as our blogs).

Interestingly, the US call them Swords, after the acronym for Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems. This has frightening similarity to the idea used in the film Screamers where autonomous, self-fixing robots battle for a planet. The question of the original short story, ‘The second version’. A comparison with the film is available here

There is no doubt that Science Fiction has explored aspects of the abuse of robots. What is frightening is that a British company produced a military communications system and called it skynet, and that we see evidence now of T-800s or at least T-1s…

One comment


    January 26, 2005

    _*Swords*_, eh? What a “beautiful” use of the art of “euphemism”: that is.

    One is struck very strongly by the continuing currency of the
    Orwellian concept of “Newspeak” and “DoubleThink” when
    reading these stories.


    Among the charming euphemisms to come out of the Iraq
    conflict (war) are: passed away (died); fatal injury (death);
    casualties (deaths and injuries); collateral damage (damage to
    property); sharpshooter (sniper) and, of course, promoting
    democracy (enforcing hegemonic rule).

    The current U.N. envoy John Negroponte was reported as
    “busily twisting language like a pretzel” at a Senate hearing
    recently. The new Baghdad regime, to be installed on June 30,
    will have sovereignty. Well, sort of. Negroponte explained: ???That
    is why I use the term ???exercise of sovereignty.??? In other words,
    the Baghdad government will be praised as the embodiment of
    Iraqi sovereignty while the U.S. military continues to do whatever
    Washington wants it to do in Iraq ??? including order the Iraqi
    military around.

    Students of the science fiction classic novel
    “1984”: will recall Orwell writing about an approach that involves ???holding two contradictory beliefs in one???s mind simultaneously, and
    accepting both of them.???

    This blog endorses Orwell’s classic 1945 definition of democracy:

    _”If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”_

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