Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Robots - The Good and the Evil

What if those first-person shooter/Counter-Strike robot players were real - ie had a remote-controlled corresponding physical representation in the real world? What if your character also had such a physical representation when you were playing video games? Would you care? Big deal right? Video games aren't real and neither are the physical robots structures. Good clean fun and no (biological) one gets hurt. Except that what you're talking about is a robot war. Sound far-fetched? Maybe, but the US military is taking advantage of the gong show that once was Iraq to test out their prototype robot soldier as we speak. It actually looks pretty wimpy, but hey, it can fire a machine gun like nobody's business. Slap some camo on that thing and all of a sudden it's a bad-ass killing machine. I can't decide if robot wars would be a step forward. Robots killing robots sounds better than people killing people, and we could just settle all our international conflicts at a good old-fashioned LAN party. We could even move the physical representation of the battle somewhere they wouldn't hurt anyone or our environment, like the moon or Pluto (it's not even a planet anyway) and let them duke it out. Hell, you could just eliminate physical war altogther and make them entirely virtual. It just makes you realize how out-dated physical fighting really is - why don't we just divvy up the world's resources over a euchre tournament?

On the other hand, if one side, like the US gets their war-bots online first and no one else has any, than it'll be robots vs. people which is very scary. Maybe it's a good thing that the Japanese and Chinese are leading the way in robotic technology.

Speaking of which, I just heard about this robot that's all the rage in Japan. The robot, called wakamaru, can speak and understand Japanese, remember and recognize up to 10 familiar faces. It can wake you up in the morning, remind you about appointments and even call you up if there's trouble at home. It gets around the house on its own thanks to an internal map, and returns to its charger when the battery's low. Best of all, it runs on Linux. Wired reported back when it was released.


Anonymous Coward said...

Considering how much better than us the bots were, I'd be scared of the headshots.