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Robot Terrorists Are Going to Kill Your Children
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Yes, that's right. No alarmism here.

Oh wait...maybe there is some alarmism.

A robotics expert at the University of Sheffield will today (27 February 2008) issue stark warnings over the threat posed to humanity by new robot weapons being developed by powers worldwide.

In a keynote address to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Professor Noel Sharkey, from the University’s Department of Computer Science, will express his concerns that we are beginning to see the first steps towards an international robot arms race. He will warn that it may not be long before robots become a standard terrorist weapon to replace the suicide bomber.

Talk about optimism! I guess this guy is just trying to be provocative and get headlines. It worked. But he's full of crap.

I liked this bit:

Professor Sharkey, who is famously known for his roles as chief judge on the TV series Robot Wars and as onscreen expert for the BBC´s TechnoGames, said: “The trouble is that we can’t really put the genie back in the bottle. Once the new weapons are out there, they will be fairly easy to copy. How long is it going to be before the terrorists get in on the act"”

“With the current prices of robot construction falling dramatically and the availability of ready-made components for the amateur market, it wouldn’t require a lot of skill to make autonomous robot weapons.”

Professor Sharkey is reluctant to explain how such robots could be made but he points out that a small GPS guided drone with autopilot could be made for around £250.

(emphasis mine)

Yeah, that's the rub, ain't it? How to make the damn things. Folks, we're a loooooong way from flexible, general-purpose autonomous robots. Sharkey is giving lectures about how you can build your own T1000 for the price of a PC. Believe me...if I could have by now, I would have.

I guess he just like scaring people and getting attention. Sigh.

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