A level or two above the "Grand Challenge"

Street-fighting robot challenge announced

From the article:

How exactly is this thing supposed to distinguish between civilians and soldiers? In the modern "asymmetrical" warfare the difference between soldiers and civilians usually is that soldiers have weapons and civilians do not. Even human soldiers have great difficulties to identify their targets. A man has a gun, he's a combatant. He throws away the gun, he's a civilian. He picks up the gun, he's a combatant again. And what if a child does not recognice a weapon and picks one up to see what it is? Will he/she be identified as a combatant and shot dead, especially when there are real child soldiers whit guns in the world? Also, usually when the social order breaks down or something the civilians tend to keep their guns at hand and visible so that potential robbers etc. won't try anything. When the muslim clerks were resently driven out of Somalia the new gowernment told everybody to give up their guns. Suprisingly almost nobody followed with that order. Would the fighting bot identify civilians with weapons for self-defence purposes as enemies, and shoot them too?
A robot would be better than a human at identifying combatants.

First reason is the emotional one. A robot doesn't have a deep drive for self preservation. When a human dies it's tragic, when a robot gets fragged it kinda sucks. A robot can give civilians more leeway and more easily follow a "don't fire unless fired upon" doctrine. Additionally, taking small arms fire for a robot isn't as dangerous as for a soldier because of additional armoring (you can build the moving parts around the armor instead of build the armor around the joints) and less sensitive parts. I expect a robot could also identify, target, aim, and fire much much faster than a human; reducing the risk even more.

Add to that a better sensor package, more extensive weapon identification system, heavier armimants, rapid inter-combatant communication, etc. It really isn't a fair fight.

We started introducing UAV's 5 years ago. Now look at what we are doing with them.
In 20 years battlefields are going to look like a Terminator movie.
I had one more comment:
All this is very scary. What if we get so good at this that we can press a button and send 1,000,000 robots of various types into a country. And overrun their government completely and completely monitor and police the region with very little human presence (maybe a few thousand "consultants").
What would Iraq look like in this scenario?
Iraq is in a perpetual police state. Any insurgency is immediately suppressed. Any gun brandished in public is immediately confiscated (the robots will protect you, you don't need to do it yourself).
The robots will build civilian shelters etc.
It would look just like Manna.
But very few American deaths. Very few Americans ever even see Iraq. There is no outcry to finish the job and leave. Everyone just kinda forgets about it.
Imperialism perfected. We get all their resources and we don't need to really kill anybody or hurt them that bad. Just an extended, low level, destruction of freedom or any self-direction.

I don't fear Manna in our country. I fear we will impose it on others.

Actually, looking at how our country (USA) is going, I fear we will be the Iraq and Singapore will impose Manna on us.
A very disturbing contest, and a very irresposible one at that. Machines cannot make these subtle distinctions much less humans.
what about children with toy guns?
what if the operating system of such a machine malfunctions? (particularly the target search module of the software)

>What if we get so good at this that we can press a button and send 1,000,000 robots of various types into a country.

that's exactly what they're trying to achieve :)

>>What would Iraq look like in this scenario?

In cases where the surveillance and electronic fighting systems are so advanced that people can't retaliate, they'll attack the next weak link in the system. If, say, in the US these systems are not widely used, people will commit more terrorist acts in the US on revenge for the "killing and humilliation" of their "brothers"

>>Actually, looking at how our country (USA) is going, I fear we will be the Iraq and Singapore will impose Manna on us

Not iraq and others, but look at china's speed of development, manpower capacity, ability to copy technology and technological prowess, and you may know who will impose the future rules on whom (that is, if nuclear stupidity doesn't stop it all before)

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