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Military Robotics Competition Raises Questions on War Applications

“Galvanized by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power disaster in 2011, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency…has invested nearly $100 million into developing robots that could head into disaster zones off limits to humans,” according to The Washington Post .  

“Organizers of the DARPA Robotics Challenge are quick to point out that the robots are designed for humanitarian purposes, not war. The challenge course represents a disaster zone, not a battlefield. And although the robots may look like the Terminator and move with the rigidity of Frankenstein’s monster, they are harmless noncombatants, with the general dexterity of a teetering 1-year-old. During the challenge, DARPA officials expect a few of the robots to end up on their keisters looking more helpless than threatening.”  

“But although the aim of the contest is to help develop robots to use in humanitarian missions, such as sifting through the rubble after the earthquake in Nepal, officials acknowledge that as the technology advances, they could, one day, be used for all sorts of tasks, from helping the elderly, to manufacturing, and, yes, even as soldiers.”

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