Fresh off a tour in Iraq, Gen. Lynch challenged the attendees to show him some real robots. He told the stunned crowd there were no robots in Iraq--just things with remote control. He also said that he had lost 155 soldiers under his command in Iraq--122 soldiers--would not have died if the right robots had been there to help keep them out of harm's way. "I'm talking about a system that has a certain degree of autonomy," he said. [emphasis added]Francis X. Govers III's article "U.S. Army Holds 'Robot Rodeo' at Fort Hood" appeared in the the January/February 2010 issue of Robot Magazine.
Looking for a few good robots
I speculated about what a case for autonomous robots would look like in an earlier post, noting that having robots take the place of humans in life-threatening situations would be particularly persuasive. Since then I came across an account of the "Robot Rodeo" held at Fort Hood last year. Here's an excerpt.
* * *Autonomous robots with the ability to drive vehicles or detect IEDs would be great assets in a war zone, but if autonomy is extended to armed machines, then we need to seriously consider everyone in which those machines will come in contact and the prospect of a deadly malfunction (example).