Machines to be used for “defense missions”
Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, September 6, 2012
One of the robots under development by DARPA for the purpose of “emergency response” and humanitarian missions has beaten the human world speed record set in 2009 by athlete Usain Bolt.
“The Defense Advanced Research Project’s (DARPA) Cheetah managed to reach 28.3 mph, said the agency on Sept. 5. The speed is a little faster than the fastest human, Usain Bolt, who set the human world speed record when he reached a peak speed of 27.78 mph in 2009 during a100 meter sprint. The Cheetah robot had already attained the record as the fastest robot on earth when it clocked in 18 Mph earlier in its development,” reports Government Security News.
Cheetah’s advantage versus other robots when it comes to emergency response, humanitarian missions and “other defense missions,” is that it legs enable it to handle difficult terrain, unlike wheeled and tracked robots.
Cheetah was able to beat its previous speed record with the aid of improved control algorithms and a more powerful pump. Engineers plan to test a prototype Cheetah on real terrain next year.
Boston Dynamics Inc. is also working on a separate project for DARPA to produce humanoid robots that can act intelligently without supervision.
Last month, the Department of Defense announced that “The robotic platforms will be humanoid, consisting of two legs, a torso, two arms with hands, a sensor head and on board computing.” The robots are set to be ready by 2014, states the contract.
Like the Cheetah, the humanoid robots will be used to “conduct humanitarian, disaster relief and related operations” and will also be able to use basic and diverse tools.
Boston Dynamics has enjoyed a long working relationship with DARPA, during which time it has developed the rather frightening BigDog. This hydraulic quadruped robot can carry up to 340lb load, meaning it can be effectively weaponised, and recovers its balance even after sliding on ice and snow:
The company also developed RiSE, a robot that climbs vertical terrain such as walls, trees and fences, using feet with micro-claws to climb on textured surfaces:
In addition to a host of other smaller robots, Boston Dynamics is also developing PETMAN, a robot that simulates human physiology and balances itself as it walks, squats and does calisthenics:
Although Cheetah and other robots being developed under the auspices of DARPA are ostensibly for humanitarian missions, the Pentagon has also taken steps towards developing androids for aggressive operations.
In 2008, the Pentagon issued a request to contractors to develop a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” designed to search for, detect and track “non-cooperative” humans in “pursuit/evasion scenarios”.
“…how long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed?” Marks asks.
Marks interviewed Steve Wright, an expert on police and military technologies, from Leeds Metropolitan University, who commented:
“The giveaway here is the phrase ‘a non-cooperative human subject’.
What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed.
We can also expect such systems to be equipped with human detection and tracking devices including sensors which detect human breath and the radio waves associated with a human heart beat. These are technologies already developed.”
Indeed, noted as PHASE III on the Pentagon proposal was the desire to have the robots developed to “intelligently and autonomously search”.
Top robotics expert, Noel Sharkey, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield, haspreviously warned that the world may be sleepwalking into a potentially lethal technocracy and has called for safeguards on such technology to be put into place.
In 2008, Professor Sharkey told listeners of the Alex Jones show:
“If you have an autonomous robot then it’s going to make decisions who to kill, when to kill and where to kill them. The scary thing is that the reason this has to happen is because of mission complexity and also so that when there’s a problem with communications you can send a robot in with no communication and it will decide who to kill, and that is really worrying to me.”
The professor also warned that such autonomous weapons could easily be used in the future by law enforcement officials in cites, pointing out that South Korean authorities are already planning to have a fully armed autonomous robot police force in their cities.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show and Infowars Nightly News.