Thursday, August 13, 2009

I don’t think Asimov’s Three Laws covered war crimes…

Given recent reports that robots may have sinister motivations behind their actions, it comes as little surprise that people have been a little bit nervous lately about anything mechanical that could potentially become one of the first round of Skynet-controlled killing machines.

Terminators  I’d prefer to avoid this if possible.

Thus, things hit the fan a while ago when it was revealed that a DARPA-funded program has built robots capable of generating energy from forage (read: leaf litter, twigs). Seems innocuous, right? Not if you’re FOX News. It seems someone caught on to the actual plan behind this to fuel the robots on casualties of war, because, you know, warfare hasn’t changed since the First World War, and there are all sorts of human casualties left lying around these days. Astonishingly, all through the development process, no one seemed to think this might be a problem, or violate international law. It’s a good thing FOX caught on to this all: Biomass-Eating Robot Is a vegetarian, Company Says

Hmm… well it seems FOX has changed their story. Strange, because FOX never gets things wrong….


Anyway. The initial reports prompted a (fantastic!) press release from the company going so far as to cite the Geneva conventions when it comes to desecration of the dead. The best line therein:

“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” stated Harry Schoell, Cyclone’s CEO.

Its good to know that someone is taking our entirely realistic concerns seriously.


Credit to Steve for mentioning this first. I’ve had this backburnered for a while now, and finally wrapped it up.

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