And Now, Some Killer Robots

This is the most up-to-date DARPA logo.
Not sure, but I think it stands for "Deadly Attack Robots Picnicking on Americans"

It wasn’t widely reported for some reason, but in their report explaining the credit rating downgrade, Standard & Poor explicitly blame the Republican party:

We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.

So it looks as if it’s going to be yet another day of horrors on the markets. Dammit, let’s forget about all this for a while. Let’s think about something fun. Like killer robots.

DARPA, the US agency charged with the task of coming out with completely freakishly insane ideas just to make sure that no one else has them first – how can I work for them? – decided in 2009 that what the US army needed was a robot that could power itself independently on the battlefield by burning what fuel it can scavenge, including… biomass.

Hmm. Biomass. What sort of biomass would there be a lot of, on battlefields?

Well, there’s the dead. Plenty of them lying around. Burn up a treat, do the dead. And before you recoil in horror, it has to be said that it’s an interesting challenge from an engineering viewpoint. The real hard part I think will be programming it to discriminate between dead bodies and other, similar things it might be able to pick up. Like the dying.

There was even speculation that they could be built as Von Neumann machines – that is, mechanisms capable of constructing copies of themselves. Because what could go wrong with flesh-eating military robots that breed?

Oh, I forgot to tell you what they want to call it. “Energetically Autonomous Tactical  Robot.” Or EATR. Always have such a waggish sense of humour, those face-eating military kill-bot designers.


2 thoughts on “And Now, Some Killer Robots

  1. Yes. “Energetically autonomous” sounds like how a Soviet committee of enquiry would describe itself. Makes me think the whole thing was dreamed up just for the acronym.

    Which, if it’s really how DARPA spend their days, is yet another reason why I want to work there.


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