Which in German Means

Posted by: on Nov 1, 2007 | No Comments

Spent the week at a robotics conference in San Diego, which was less the beach romp than I thought and more slow suffocation by Powerpoint. I saw right inside the belly of the military-industrial complex, and while I was pleased that the starred generals there had “saving lives” as their ultimate goal, it was clear that they are only counting American lives. One large company (name redacted) played a video of its vision for the future, which included having robots autonomously determine the threat posed by a man in a turban driving a truck toward a checkpoint, and asking Marines to let it fire on him. Of course they accepted, and disaster was averted. Another life saved by the intelligence of military robots! Of course, the robot I work on is designed to save casualties and will not be armed, but we’ve already had discussions of having it run “point man” operations, where it is the first guy through the door. Scary stuff, and I’m not sure I’ll happy to be working on it if we go that way. Might have to run back to the warm welcoming arms of academia. Going to bed now to catch up on sleep, maybe everything will be right with the world in the morning…