Sunday, August 14, 2005


From Science Fiction Art by Brian Aldiss

By Eaine Meinel Supkis

With over 30,000 casualties, over 2,000 dead soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, untold mayhem, the Pentagon goes onwards with the quest for a totally ruthless, utterly undefeatable, inhuman war machine. Of course, this means creating killer robots. The Gladitor is the latest entry in the Evil Empire Sweepstakes.f I am sure that the technicians working on these various projects all know Star Wars by heart and have grown up on science fiction books and movies. 100% of them. Yet they make money doing the obviously wrong thing for the government.From the Post Gazette via CNet:
The "Gladiator," an unmanned remote-controlled vehicle, makes its way over a dirt obstacle yesterday as a crowd observes. Carnegie Mellon and BAE Systems held a public demonstration of the robot, developed for the Marine Corps..... military-green robot resembling a large all-terrain vehicle climbed and tumbled over makeshift stacks of wood planks and piles of stone-filled dirt, preening before a crowd uttering "ohs" and "ahs".

Known as the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV), the six-wheeled combat robot spun around in circles displaying its strength and durability at what could have been its coming-out party-- the first public demonstration of the prototype designed and developed at Carnegie Mellon University and set to be built and manufactured at BAE Systems' Ground Vehicle Unit plant in Fayette County.

In February, CMU beat out defense giant Lockheed Martin for a $26.4 million Defense Department contract to produce a line of six Gladiator TUGV prototypes.
This is driving us into bankruptcy. Six Humvees with National Guards inside cost one tenth that. As the people fighting us know, humans are actually cheap resources. The reason why we want robots is because we can't stomach the close up fighting that running a ruthless empire entails. We want to reap the riches and wreck the wretches but not get hurt in the process.

So the temptation to spend oodles of money making robots which will do all the dirty killing for us is a severe temptation.
Eventually, the military hopes to arm the remote-controlled TUGVs with machine guns and other weapons, giving them the capacity to destroy enemy targets.

Rep. John Murtha checks out the launchers on the "Gladiator" yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.

Marine Corps Col. Terry Griffin, the project manager for the Department of Defense Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, called the Gladiator "the future of war-fighting.

"Remote combat task is to accomplish the mission and save friendly lives," Griffen told a crowd of BAE employees, politicians, CMU researchers, staff and reporters on hand for yesterday's demonstration. "We're going to do that with the Gladiator."
Yes, this killing machine will spit out bullets and "destroy enemy targets" just like the nukes dropped on cities filled with women and children destroyed enemy targets.

Right now, as is usual, our enemy targets are nearly exclusively pesky peasants in distant lands who interfer with our New World Robot Rule.
Designed to fit into a military Humvee for transport, the Gladiator will be driven remotely by a soldier using a Sony PlayStation-like joystick. The soldier will wear a special helmet fitted with an eyepiece that serves as a camera, allowing the soldier to see what the robot sees, even though it could be miles away.

The latest Gladiator prototype has containers for hand grenades that can be used for clearing obstacles and creating a footpath on difficult terrain for soldiers following behind. It also features what looks like organ pipes to produce smoke, and it has a mount on top for a medium-size machine gun or multipurpose assault weapon.
Ender's Game, anyone?f

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