Is Too Much Time With Robots a Bad Thing?

Jason Ditz, December 19, 2008

I’m a sucker for military robot stories. Today, The Independent has an article about concerns from the University of Sheffield’s Professor Sharkey that, as robots are used in more and more ways, people will become more and more isolated from each other.

Professor Sharkey also calls for ethical guidelines for battlefield robots, and the article cites the US Future Combat Systems project that would allow, according to the article, “a single soldier initiating large-scale ground and aerial attacks by a robot droid army.”


26 Responses to “Is Too Much Time With Robots a Bad Thing?”

  1. This reminds me of the Terminator films.

  2. Go to these videos and see what a really smart – not to mention HOT – robot can do!

    Cameron’s Terminator Tactics

    Cameron: “They knew where we live” – uncut

    Cameron highjack’s van, fights T-888 & removes his CPU

    Cameron terminating a bad Terminator in the future

  3. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

  4. Robots will do a better job.

  5. Sounds like the University of Sheffield’s Professor Sharkey has read his Asimov. I think we are in more danger of becoming “Spacers” from computors than robots.


  6. I suggest the book,”How To Survive a Robot Uprising” by Daniel H.Wilson It’s a humorous,yet informative book.

  7. Wilson rules! Do androids dream of electric sheep? I know Blade Runner was way off, but it is still one of my all time favorite movies.


  8. The Executive Branch will never start using robots wholesale, since sending flesh n’ blood teenagers to the battlefield is a lot more fun. Pete Stark had it right (‘memba “for the president’s amusement”?) Love a statist with balls. Too bad more of ’em don’t have chutzpah.

  9. Yes, Blade Runner was a great film in imagining our (all too possible) dystopian future.

  10. Wars get more sanitized every day
    If women ruled the military perhaps they would throw the towel in earlier and so the battlefield would be littered with sanitry towels—-not quite the same blood shed

  11. The State won’t need robots as long as the State controls the educational system and the media. How else did the Bush Administration convince young men to go and kill innocent Iraqis (and run a small but real risk of getting killed themselves)? Our State educational system teaches that war is necessary, our media justifies it and the VFW/right wing establishment glorifies it. As long as young men love excitement and are inexperienced enough to buy into bs, they will offer their bodies to the State for war. Bodies that the State doesn’t have to contract for. No patents to deal with, no production problems, no computer glitches – just an endless supply of willing fools.

  12. “University of Sheffield’s Professor Sharkey that, as robots are used in more and more ways, people will become more and more isolated from each other.”

    The internet and other forms of electronic communication are already have this effect on us. Look at how much young people depend on texting, even when their peers are right nearby!

  13. Carl if it wasn’t for the internet I couldn’t reply to your ideas on the other hand you might be right!

  14. Why can’t the United States just be a normal country like say, New Zealand, Norway or the Republic of Ireland? All the money, resources, time and energy that is going to be poured into this metallic junk! Why not use that money to repave roads in Alabama? Or rebuild falling down bridges in Minnesota? How about a new hospital in Nebraska? A dozen new schools in Indiana? What a crazy country America is.

  15. I agree with Andy!
    It never ceases to amaze me that Americans can be so dumb.
    750 billion to Wall Street, a pittance for the auto industry, no healtcare, and now this….why dont the Americans have a second revolution?! Especially with all the guns that they have…

  16. Andy,

    What you call “normal country”s are what we call “socialist country”s. I agree that pouring public money into robot research is ludicrous. But it’s even more ludicrous to think that government could or would do anything to benefit the people it claims to serve, whether it’s the U.S. Government or any other.
    Let me put it to you this way. Socialism is a government flunky demanding that you hand over your wealth while he points a gun to your head. It’s armed robbery writ large!
    May folks around here believe the U.S. is way too socialist as it is, yet you wish for more socialism!
    Government never did anything right – except for steal the people’s wealth, repress their freedoms and as often as not kill them. Ergo, if Alabama needs roads, Minnesota needs bridges and Nebraska needs hospitals then let’s let the private sector provide these things.
    Let’s disband the Government and end all taxes and regulations as we know them and let free people decide how to spend their wealth and provide “services.”
    I’m guessing that you reside outside of the U.S. in one of those “normal” (socialist) countries. You can keep your socialism. We’ve got way too much of it around here as it is.

  17. Right on Z! One might argue that stealing money for a hospital is better than stealing it for robots. But in the end theft is theft. We have an economy on the brink of disaster and the only thought the socialist have is steal more money. The compansionate Liberal socialist want to steal my last dollar for a road I don’t need, and the keep us all safe from the boogyman fascist socialist want my last dollar for one more bomb. It’s time we throw the whole bunch of bums out and start over.


  18. Thats it Richard. I was once that fool but no longer, and not my children. The robot budget is just a little fun the big wigs get to play with. You know, throw some money around and get their kicks.


  19. Money and power has always been the strength of the bullies

  20. I’m not a “socialist”. I don’t reside in any of those countries. I just chose them at random. I could have chosen other countries. My point was that the military-industrial complex – more advanced by far in the United States then any other country in the world – is a giant PARASITE sucking the lifeblood out of the country. Five billion dollars spent on an aircraft carrier is five billion less dollars for roads, schools, etc. Of course we also have the option of not taxing the people for that five billion and letting that saved money from non-taxation be used to build these things to. But EITHER OPTION is eliminated when the aircraft carrier is actually built. The USA spends as much money on “defense” as the rest of the world combined!!!!! Absolutely staggering when you consider the USSR collapsed over 15 years ago, it is a continental country with only two weak neighbours and has no threat of invasion. I think you missed my point in your search for a “communist boogyman”.

  21. Sorry Andy if you thought I was calling you a Socialist. I have read enough of your comments to agree with you on almost everything you have to say. Of course your right that we need to drastically reduce our military budget. If we left the rest of the world alone we could do it easily and safely.

    Socialism comes in many forms and we are seeing a socialist takover right now right here. It’s not coming from Russia it’s from our elites who love the power that comes with having their hands on the budget. One side says they want bombs the other bread, but in the end the republicrats are both socialist. They are both willing to rob you blind, one states the case for welfare and one for warfare. Their idea of compromise is to give us both and now we have a form of Socialist Fascism driven by corpratism.

    I got your point and I understand, your for bread not bombs. I believe we need to fight both sides if we expect to get our country back on track.


  22. The ‘pentagonization’ of America via the massive military-industrial complex is largely to blame for this, as is the ‘corporatization’ of the newsmedia. Gone is the tough, investigative journalism of yesteryear. It’s so much easier for ‘journalists’ today to follow the corporate line. Stepping on toes is less good for your career then scratching backs. You have to learn to think independently, to see beyond the ‘noise’. The problem for young people is that they are naive and lack life-experience. Sadly they are easy prey.

  23. Don’t worry. In the future, we will all have robot family members, spouses, friends, and sex toys … er lovers. So, there will be no need for human companionship.

    It will be like that Jude Law character from the movie A.I.

    Your every whim. Your every desire. Fulfilled by a Mecha!

    The future looks quite rosy in our Brave New World.

    Can’t you just wait!?

  24. F***ing great! I always thought the “Matrix”-scenario to mankind’s doom was unrealistic as it assumed that the self-aware machines organized in a separate nation called 01 ( Zero One) would beat us in a direct confrontation, magically and very unrealistically being impervious to nukes. What is a lot more realistic is the “Terminator”-scenario where we give the machines control over our military capabilities, which of course ends with the machines turning the weapons against us.

  25. Oh the promise of bloodless wars of occupation and subjugation (at least bloodless for us). Now we can oppress the third world by remote control

    This is all about eliminating the veterans for peace, the conscience of war. And the most powerful voice for peace.

    This is an abomination.

  26. You know I almost wish the Machines would turn on the US Military, this way there would be more “problem solving” done by the idiots who want to turn the battlefield into the beginning of “Terminator-2”.