Monday, May 7, 2007
"But it's just a robot!"
So are you.
From the Cat, a little bit more on the man/machine meld at the WAPO.
Even more startling than these machines' capabilities, however, are the effects they have on their friendly keepers who, for example, award their bots "battlefield promotions" and "purple hearts." "Ours was called Sgt. Talon," says Sgt. Michael Maxson of the 737th Ordnance Company (EOD). "We always wanted him as our main robot. Every time he was working, nothing bad ever happened. He always got the job done. He took a couple of detonations in front of his face and didn't stop working. One time, he actually did break down in a mission, and we sent another robot in and it got blown to pieces. It's like he shut down because he knew something bad would happen." The troops promoted the robot to staff sergeant -- a high honor, since that usually means a squad leader. They also awarded it three "purple hearts."
I know people who name their assigned weapons. Just happens. Robots will come of age on the battlefield. Everything does. War has the unintended effect of eliminating bull.
Soon (doing my best egghead voice) robots will save lives in addition to taking them.