A New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to Battle

As the first lethal robots head for Iraq, the role of the robot soldier as a killing machine has barely been debated. The history of warfare suggests that every new technological leap – the longbow, the tank, the atomic bomb – outraces the strategy and doctrine to control it.

“The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against robots making life-or-death decisions,” said Mr. Johnson, who leads robotics efforts at the Joint Forces Command research center in Suffolk, Va. “I have been asked what happens if the robot destroys a school bus rather than a tank parked nearby. We will not entrust a robot with that decision until we are confident they can make it.” —A New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to Battle (NY TImes/RUR-RI-2004)

Posted to a newsgroup devoted to the discussion of RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots).