I, for one, welcome our new robot masters.

Please keep in mind that the primary function of stories like this is to distract us from the fact that a whole fucking lot of people are going to die.

That said, this is pretty neat:

Military robots well trained for war

[...] But the new conflict persuaded the military to move faster. At the time, the state-of-the-art means for clearing a cave was to tie a rope around the waist of an infantryman, who would crawl in and toss ahead a grappling hook to probe for mines or booby traps.

[...] Able to ride on tracks like a small tank, climb stairs and work under 3 meters of water or force of up to 400 times gravity, Packbots made their debut just six weeks later at a cave complex outside the village of Nazaraht, near the Pakistani border.

[...] Later, they offered advice, complaining that the signal wasn't penetrating the walls of deep caves. So Tom Frost, an iRobot engineer at the scene, built a makeshift network of radio repeaters by scavenging old Soviet trucks that littered Bagram Air Base. And when soldiers asked Frost if PackBot could work with the computers integrated into their clothing, he downloaded the necessary code over a satellite.

[...] And sometimes, especially in towns, what the soldiers really wanted was a "throw bot" they could toss over a wall or through a window.

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12 Responses:

  1. icis_machine says:

    what?!? you didn't the mailing for the evolution line of robots?

    • bdu says:

      the word "get" is often important to properly convey a message, and can make for a very confusing statement when it goes missing.

    • baconmonkey says:

      For Immediate Release

      DNA Lounge Nightclub of San Francisco, CA replaces all staff with robots. As of February 1st, all Staff at the DNA Lounge will be replaced by robotic counterparts. All security and Floor crew will be replaced with Bushmaster military death robots, and all barr staff will be replaced with scaled up versions of the college hit, The Bar Monkey. DNA Lounce Owner, Jamie Zawinski had this to say "After fighting for years, legislation was passed recently that allows my people to equal access to employment". All former employees will be retained and kept in small pods to harvest their bioelectrical energy.

    • hfx_ben says:

      While some are toiling to give our new masters their instructions, a different sort [more highly evolved?] get to wear neat-o Inuit-style hoodies. (I wonder if these come with kevlar liners.)

      note: this image intentionally smusched to minimize forward propogation

      "Scientific Proof for: The Shift of the Ages; Free Energy, Anti-Gravity and Extraterrestrial Science Unveiled; The Divine Cosmos"

  2. hafnir says:

    Hey, I had that toy when I was a kid:
    (it's different, and yet oddly the same...some assembly required....)

  3. yksi says:

    I've often thought that if it gets to a point where every country uses robots to fight for their people, I wonder how long it would take the leaders to figure out how funny they're being. Yeah, great benefit to everyone of no death... but they only fight wars to get the other side to submit and I can't figure out how they'll get anyone to submit, once no one dies. I don't know, sometimes I think funny thoughts about a century before they're needed.

    • icis_machine says:

      you mean in the future all disputes will be televised and mostly be a rerun of battle bots?

      can we play fgth's "two tribes" during each war too?

  4. susano_otter says:

    For stories that don't distract you from the fact that lots of people are going to die, Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe's" series can't be beat. Just finished reading Sharpe's Company, which covers the siege of Badajoz during the Napoleonic Wars. Like all the other books in the series, it's romantically dashing, historically accurate, and brutally honest about the dying. Pages and pages of gory detail about thousands of men advancing stoically into grapeshot cannonades that vaporize whole companies at a time. Wellington sent over 5k British infantry to horrible deaths to take the town, and the surviving troops promptly raped, pillaged, and plundered the civilians inside. War != fun. That said, I imagine modern stormtrooper tactics and precision bombing have greatly reduced the death toll among both soldiers and civilians, and brutality is much more often frowned upon and punished than in the "good old days".

  5. Do you mind if I add you to my friends list? I enjoy your posts so.