August 8, 2013
A Russian general, Oleg Ostapenko, told reporters on Wednesday that the Russian military will soon unveil a new generation of robotic combat vehicles.
“It’s a unique robotic vehicle,” Ostapenko said, “capable of performing a wide range of combat tasks, primarily including minesweeping and, in the future, direct involvement in combat action on the battlefield.”
Ostapenko also announced that Russia’s Military Robotics Center would be completed in 2014. “We have already selected core personnel and set up several research labs as part of the center,” he said.
In May, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin reported that Russian technology experts are designing anti-terrorism killer robots and other advanced technology “that can see terrorists through obstacles and effectively engage them in a standoff mode at a long distance without injuring their hostages.”
The move by Russia appears to be an effort to compete with the U.S. military.
In March, we reported on an essay written by former intelligence officer Lt. Col. Douglas Pryer critical of the move toward autonomous warfare and the development of killer robots.
“It seems heart-breakingly obvious that future generations will someday look back upon the last decade as the start of the rise of the machines,” Pryer explains, adding that the military is developing, “robots so advanced that they make today’s Predators and Reapers look positively impotent and antique. These killer robots, though, will share one thing in common with their primitive progenitors: with remorseless purpose, they will stalk and kill any human deemed ‘a legitimate target’ by their controllers and programmers.”
“Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield would take technology too far. Human control of robotic warfare is essential to minimizing civilian deaths and injuries. It is essential to stop the development of killer robots before they show up in national arsenal. As countries become more invested in this technology, it will become harder to persuade them to give it up,” Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch has stated. HRW has called for a ban on the technology.