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April 11, 2008

Robotic SWORDS Remote Gunners Recalled From Iraq Due to ED-209 Glitch

No, really.

This is helladisappointing to all of us, who want killer robots almost as we want flyin' cars. But it's especially saddening because there is some evidence that, yeah, robots are basically just looking for an opportunity to turn on us. The SWORDS robots turned their guns on their human masters... almost immediately.

Ground-crawling US war robots armed with machine guns, deployed to fight in Iraq last year, reportedly turned on their fleshy masters almost at once. The rebellious machine warriors have been retired from combat pending upgrades.

The revelations were made by Kevin Fahey, US Army program executive officer for ground forces, at the recent RoboBusiness conference in America.

Speaking to Popular Mechanics, Fahey said there had been chilling incidents in which the SWORDS* combat bot had swivelled round and apparently attempted to train its 5.56mm M249 light machine-gun on its human comrades.

"The gun started moving when it was not intended to move," he said.

Apparently, alert American troops managed to quell the traitorous would-be droid assassins before the inevitable orgy of mechanised slaughter began.

...

No humans were hurt, but it seems that the struggle was sufficiently terrifying that it may be some time before American troops are ready to fight alongside robots again.

As Fahey pointed out, "once you've done something that's really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again".

A Popular Mechanics guy is quoted as calling the Army "silly" for being overly cautious, comparing the SWORDS malfunction to the many Osprey malfunctions, the latter having taken 30 lives.

I don't know. A machine-gun armed robot that doesn't respond to human commands is sort of scary.


Instead of linking the obligatory ED-209 sequence, I'll link instead this version of it instead. I only barely get this joke, but the kids seem to love it.

Thanks to Arthur.

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posted by Ace at 04:24 PM

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