The Korean DMZ (pdf) / PLZ has been a hot tourist attraction for years, featuring must-see sites like the Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory, the Dora Mountain Train Station, the Freedom Bridge and the Imjingak Tourist Site, complete with its statue of Harry Truman. And now, South Korea's border with North Korea -- the most heavily militarized border on Earth, -- will be patrolled by killer robots. [more inside]
Military equipment drawn as anime girls. Probably SFW, but good luck explaining it to the boss. Wikipedia explains.
"The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against robots making life-or-death decisions," (NYT link) The Pentagon is spending $127 billion on a new project called Future Combat Systems, and armed, decision-making robots represent a significant part of that project (though such a drone may not be available until 2035). They're also looking at the possibility of nanotechnological "smart dust." Though the concept of grey goo has been all but debunked by the man who coined the phrase, the more immediate future may hold robots who, according to the Times article, are faced with choices like whether to destroy a tank or a school bus (One of the main contractors involved, the somewhat ominously named iRobot, is best known for making vacuum-cleaner-bots). Is the general movement toward a fleshless army a good idea?
The robot should go in first. Between 50 and 100 Packbot [13MB wmv] unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) are currently being used for battlefield reconnaissance. One proved its worth last week when it uncovered a bomb and was destroyed in the process. Colin Angle, CEO of Packbot maker iRobot, doesn't rule out the eventual weaponizing of UGVs and quips "we're not using these robots to hand out flowers".
This gladiator looks like he's trying to step up to the red robot for the human crushing title. But, in all seriousness, am I the only one whose first reaction on reading this was: "Oh man, what if they had one of those during the Seattle protests?" It has apparently been in development for some time now, but somehow this version seems a little scarier. [main two content links via boingboing.]