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The US army is testing disturbing robot dogs equipped with machine guns (and AI)

© Onyx Industries via LinkedIn

It was until recently a red line not to be crossed – and yet: the killer robots are coming. The firm Ghost Robotics has provided the MASOC division of the US Department of Defense with two examples of robotic dogs equipped with machine guns and AI to detect, lock on and track targets that a remote operator can give the order to kill.

Devices called Q-UGV in the army nomenclature, with for the moment the only limitation of not being able to kill autonomously. The whole question now is to know for how long this reserve will be maintained. In itself, using robots equipped with weapons is not entirely new.

Should we? worry about the arrival of killer robots equipped with AI?

For around twenty years, drones make it possible, also subject to an order issued by a human operator, to kill targets remotely without endangering the lives of soldiers. But robotic dogs are a different kind of threat… able to go closer to their target, and representing much lower costs, since we now find this type of robot around $1,600 from certain manufacturers.

And that makes even manufacturers like Boston Dynamics (co-financed by the Department of Defense) uncomfortable. which launched an appeal in July 2022 not to arm its robots, in particular for civilian uses such as maintaining law and order (while leaving an exception, obviously, for military uses).

Resistance that seems very weak to the rapid development of these technologies. Especially since examples already exist; In 2022, San Francisco police received permission to deploy robots that can deliver lethal force against suspects. Beyond that arises the real question of the technical necessity of human control, in the face of ethical questions.

As AI systems become more sophisticated, their error rates are likely to become lower than those of human operators. Making them less and less useful – and encouraging the armed forces to potentially deploy fully autonomous versions of these robots.

Which potentially changes war zones, but not necessarily for the benefit of the populations suffering from war. Beyond these fairly immediate questions, equipping increasingly efficient AI with a robotic body and lethal weapons with the ability to kill at will is enough to raise quite a bit of controversy. ;concerns.

There is currently no video of the killer dogs tested by the US Army. However Onyx Industries offers a similar platform – which you can see in action in a video available on LinkedIn.

  • The US Army is testing robotic dogs equipped with a weapon and able to lock onto their target autonomously.
  • The commitment of lethal force remains conditional on the order of a remote operator.
  • The deployment of this type of device seems inevitable but raises ethical questions and pose the risk of a headlong flight.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116