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July 16, 2009 2:16 AM   Subscribe


 
Ah, this can be a mechanized warrior class to rule over the menagerie of other corpse-eating robotic entities that will inhabit the world of the future.
posted by XMLicious at 2:46 AM on July 16, 2009


Eponysterical (er.. if you're a necrophiliac)

Anyway, I'm sure it's a good idea from a purely warfighting perspective. But I wouldn't want to be the guy who tipped up on the doorstep of the deceased family and explained that Corporal Jones

- didn't have many recoverable remains, because his heart had been eaten by a warmongering robot
- was currently being tortured by our enemy as revenge for a flesh eating robot eating their war dead.

This is why they tend to put PR people and scientists in different buildings.

It doesn't help that the CEO of the company appears to be Jewish, and that it would be an easy jump to the meme that flesh eating Jewish robots were raiding battlefield dead to kill our children. Hell, the meme would probably be same if the founder was called Cabot.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:49 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Soylent Green is biofuel
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:50 AM on July 16, 2009


Man, just the headline alone: Upcoming Military Robot Could Feed on Dead Bodies

Great.

Like we needed more examples of how short-term thinking will wipe out our species?
posted by rokusan at 2:59 AM on July 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


1. put a jet-pack on it and I'll buy one!

2. I'll believe it when I see it.

3. So now we can run our cars on road-kill?

pick one...
posted by HuronBob at 3:24 AM on July 16, 2009


I thought this was a major stretch to create a story when I saw it yesterday, and I still think so. What are the odds that dead people are going to be the most accessible (and most easily burned) organic material in a given area?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:30 AM on July 16, 2009


We don't HAVE to look at the military applications. It might be good for exploration, for example, although I'd like to see one that's capable of deep-sea exploration - this one, being an external combustion engine, probably wouldn't work underwater. I think.

Maybe exploring jungles or something.
posted by WalterMitty at 3:31 AM on July 16, 2009


If you're NPR, you could have a hilariously inaccurate "artist's rendition."
posted by explosion at 3:34 AM on July 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Terminator Salivation
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 AM on July 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


To Servo Man
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 4:01 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's obscene.
posted by teresci at 4:50 AM on July 16, 2009


If you're NPR, you could have a hilariously inaccurate "artist's rendition."

I think that's called: NPR artists having a great and fun day (and I can't blame them, that's awesome).

OM NOM NOM FLESH AND STICKS FEED ME SEYMOUR
posted by barnacles at 4:56 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


What could possibly go wrong?
posted by DU at 4:57 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


What are the odds that dead people are going to be the most accessible (and most easily burned) organic material?

Depends largely on how much we improve the killing machines.
posted by rokusan at 5:00 AM on July 16, 2009


What are the odds [...]

Pretty small, unless the thing wanders into an old mass grave. The corpse line is how Fox editors (who are experts at writing alarmist headlines) sell what would otherwise have been an "Army developing machine that runs on mulch" story.
posted by pracowity at 5:15 AM on July 16, 2009


As I noted loudly and urgently to anyone within earshot when I first read this, I don't believe the true horror of this has been correctly represented. Immobile bodies should work pretty well as fuel too. Which means that anyone unconscious, wounded, bound or similarly incapacitated could be fuel for this "green" horror.
posted by BeReasonable at 5:16 AM on July 16, 2009


As I noted loudly and urgently to anyone within earshot when I first read this, I don't believe the true horror of this has been correctly represented. Immobile bodies should work pretty well as fuel too. Which means that anyone unconscious, wounded, bound or similarly incapacitated could be fuel for this "green" horror.

Now THIS is eponysterical.
posted by scratch at 5:23 AM on July 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Immobile bodies should work pretty well as fuel too.

Citation, please. I think you have to add a lot of energy before a body begins to actually burn. It's two-thirds water, after all.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:37 AM on July 16, 2009


Sigh Me/grabs 12 gauge. Why not make them self-replicating while we are at it.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 5:40 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


But will it eat Canadian?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:47 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Note that it comes equipped with a chain saw.

At what point do we begin to suspect that we're just being messed with?
posted by rusty at 5:51 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, it's certainly quite a step from being allowed to use the Book of Common Prayer's burial service when need calls for burial in unconsecrated ground, no?

Nor can I see this being a task any 1495;1489;1512;1492;32;1511;1491;1497;1513;1488; would want to deal with. Kind of hard to show 1499;1489;1493;1491;32;1492;1502;1514;32; under the circumstances.

I'm not getting any more of a "this would be cool by us" vibe from reading up on 1608;1575;1580;1576;, either.

I'm not even sure it'd be cool with 3926;4017;3851;3906;3919;3964;3938;3851;, unless they plan on letting the crows have at it later.

It is in line with my country's ancient and sacred tradition of pissing off everyone around us, though — who would enter into alliance with us willingly if we had a reputation of using machines on their unburied dead? Also, it's pretty horrifying from a psy-ops kind of view, so it has that going for it.

"Soylent Cola. It varies, from person to person."
posted by jpallan at 5:52 AM on July 16, 2009


This robot will eat nothing but Pentagon R&D funds. That's probably the only thing it's designed to do.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:54 AM on July 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's all funny and shit until you find out Dick Cheney has been stockpiling these things by the thousands and now there's one perched on your chest and eating your face.
posted by The Straightener at 6:03 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is very bad! We're all....hold it...I misread that....I thought it was zombie eating robot corpses. I'm OK with corpse-eating zombie robots.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:25 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Corpse-eating zombie robots is just another word for nothing left to lose.
posted by swift at 7:02 AM on July 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, the use of these jobbies wouldn't exactly discourage the infliction of collateral damage.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:08 AM on July 16, 2009


The NPR cartoon? Wasn't NPR's cartoon. Check out page 24 of Robotic Technology Inc.'s overview presentation of EATR. (pdf)

I feel much better knowing that the flesh-eating robot was made by people who choose such goofy pictures for their slideshows, although this remark sets off alarm bells:

We are evolving the 4D/RCS towards machine cognition for ubiquitous applications.

Never tech the robots to think, guys. That's a rookie mistake.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 7:12 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, the use of these jobbies wouldn't exactly discourage the infliction of collateral damage.

I'm imagining a cartoon of a robot surreptitiously looking from side to side, then capping a POW in the back of the head and gobbling down the body.
posted by XMLicious at 7:21 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whoa, hold on a sec:

In press materials, Robotic Technology presents EATR as an essentially benign artificial creature that fills its belly through "foraging," despite the obvious military purpose.


An acknowledgement that U.S. military purposes are not benign? Fox News has been infiltrated by moonbats!
posted by brain_drain at 7:25 AM on July 16, 2009


Don't worry everybody. I can take care of this with my time machine.
posted by ecurtz at 7:37 AM on July 16, 2009


Sweet, we're only a genetic algorithm away from Judgment Day.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:02 AM on July 16, 2009


The logical jumps that robots operating on self-harvesting biofuel will consume corpses are awesome. Reading the article filled me with just about as much glee as watching people run over the big red balls in an episode of Wipeout (which I only watch to watch people unsuccessfully run over the big red balls). This has trainwreck written all over it...

Robot - check; lets scapegoat some mechanical engineers - they represent the intellectuals
Autonomous - check; awesome, so now we're going after controls theorists - definitely intellectuals.
Biofuel - Green energineering - awesome - now we're going after the environmentalists, those lefty tree huggers who think they're better than us...
Self-harvesting - check; ok, this is totally controls theory and really pushing the boundaries... but... definitely a robot that senses its power level and seeks out a recharger on its own is totally some artificial intelligence.

Cmon, this is an overgrown Roomba and that's it. The thought that this will be harvesting bodies as its principal source of biofuel is so much of a stretch that I can't help but laugh.

I mean c'mon, why transport patients when you could just eat your cargo instead? That certainly is a completely logical step. I mean think about this - this is a program that is under development while a democrat is in office. What's scarrier, their economic policy or the thought that Obama could sanction the development of green technology that eats our own dead and wounded troops.

I'm just in awe... I've seen weekly world news stuff in the past, but this is just amazing in terms of scaremongering.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:38 AM on July 16, 2009


Hmmm, I'm envisioning a new take on WALL-E. How about ZOM-B? Dreamworks? Anybody?
posted by jamstigator at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2009


Dear citizens of 2050 mefi who are reading this while running from these very robots. Crap, our bad.
posted by furious at 9:51 AM on July 16, 2009


> I can take care of this with my time machine

Yeah, that ride sucks anyway.
posted by ostranenie at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2009


What are the odds that dead people are going to be the most accessible (and most easily burned) organic material in a given area?

Give it a few days, and a corpse is pretty much a big bag of gas. Plus, with its large size and distinct chemical signatures, very easy to target (tasty too...like chicken). Worried about availability? Add a gun! Or, disguise it as an ambulance. Or ice cream truck.

Added Bonus: If you target human corpses, when EATR comes in for maintenance, you can scrounge around in its hopper for jewelry. And fillings.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:00 AM on July 16, 2009


(also, forgot the LOLFoxNews tag)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:01 AM on July 16, 2009


Cmon, this is an overgrown Roomba and that's it. The thought that this will be harvesting bodies as its principal source of biofuel is so much of a stretch that I can't help but laugh.

More like a mechanical Rover. The bodies aren’t kibble. They’re the training treat.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2009


Other than the (DEAR GOD, NO!) ... somewhat disturbing implications of this invention, the Waste Heat Engine it sports sounds like a very intriguing technical development. How did they manage to build a steam engine so rubust? I thought that steam engines were fairly picky about the fuel they could use, since different materials will combust at different temperatures. If you're just cutting up random biomass and throwing it in the hopper, wouldn't that produce a wildly varying amount of heat? And what happens if something doesn't completely burn and gets stuck in there?
posted by Kevin Street at 11:50 AM on July 16, 2009


How did they manage to build a steam engine so rubust? I thought that steam engines were fairly picky about the fuel they could use, since different materials will combust at different temperatures. If you're just cutting up random biomass and throwing it in the hopper, wouldn't that produce a wildly varying amount of heat?

Shhhhhh. It doesn't run on the bodies. It runs on the screams.

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:01 PM on July 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Hey, we made cancer airborne & contagious! You're welcome! We're science: We're all about the 'coulda,' not about the 'shoulda.'"
posted by Pronoiac at 2:58 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


- Patton Oswalt
posted by Pronoiac at 2:59 PM on July 16, 2009


So, uh, this is a robot I could steal by leaving a trail of turkey slices to my shed? Sweet.

Because I might have some uses for a machine that runs on biological matter. Hell, if I can figure out a way to have it "eat" the grass in my front yard and the dog crap in the back, I'll give this thing a permanent home.
posted by quin at 3:41 PM on July 16, 2009


Well, they've updated this to explain that the robot is vegetarian and won't be feasting on flesh. ("Biomass-Eating Military Robot Is a Vegetarian, Company Says")

That kind of takes the fun out of it.
posted by wildcrdj at 7:57 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


the robot is vegetarian and won't be feasting on flesh

Can they take the robot for a test-drive at the Body Farm just to make sure it agrees?
posted by lukemeister at 9:46 PM on July 16, 2009


You know its not a good day for your organization when it has to issue a press release titled "Cyclone Power Technologies Responds to Rumors about 'Flesh Eating' Military Robot".

What's next? "MetaFilter Network LLC Responds to Rumors about 'Flesh Eating' 10th Anniversary T-Shirts"?
posted by lukemeister at 10:04 PM on July 16, 2009


the robot is vegetarian and won't be feasting on flesh


bah. they'll eat what i feed them.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:57 AM on July 17, 2009


But in a statement put out by the group, it reiterated that it would be illegal to create a robot that used dead bodies as an energy source.

"Descration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and it is certainly not something sanctioned by Darpa, Cyclone or RTI."
Guardian

Bah, be only a simple measure for it to give them a quick military funeral before it scooped them into its maw...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:21 AM on July 20, 2009




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