Merging of Man and Robot


robolobster.jpgSeapower is the official magazine of the Navy League but under the direction of Richard Barnard, Peter Atkinson, and Rick Burgess in recent years it has also emerged as a great source of future tech news and information.

The May issue of Seapower is no exception. Among features on micro air vehicles and new uses for fighter targeting pods is a cover story about the merging of man and robot to fight the wars of the not-so-distant future.

In the story, titled "New Era," Seapower correspondent Roxana Tiron writes about how "scientists foresee the merger of man and machine capabilities, enabling creation of robots to fight side-by-side with humans." She goes on to suggest that "advances in biomimetrics will help scientists imitate organic life, fostering machine intelligence approaching human speed by 2040."

"Robots will be used routinely in the most dangerous missions," said Stephen DeAntonio, business development director at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center. "They will be fully autonomous with sophisticated behaviors and will be part of full-fledged networks where the is credible information sharing among ground robots, air vehicles and humans."

The article also mentions the notion that fast-acting robots could take over when odds favor enemy forces.

Can't you just see the headlines circa 2040? "General charged with waiting too long to commit robots," or "Soldiers complain that robots stole taste of victory."

(Update, 1200 EDT): And of course no Robot/Human article would be complete without running the "I Robot" scenario to ground.

"It is imperative for robots to become part of the command structure," said Thomas McKenna, director of ONR's Sciences Division. "Why should be build expensive wild beasts?" Can you say "Robo Berzerker"? Sounds kind of cool, actually.

Check out the entire May issue of Seapower here.

(Photo: "Robolobster," developed by Northwestern's Marine Science Center for naval reconnaissance and surveillance, mine detection, and search and rescue.)

-- Ward

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