The U.S. military is trying to develop and deploy a real life terminator. A research agency associated with the Pentagon has unveiled pictures of a robot that looks and walks like a man.
The ATLAS robot is being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a Massachusetts company called Boston Dynamics. DARPA, which is known as “the Pentagon’s weird science agency,” is the organization that is stated to have invented the internet. DARPA now has an intensive effort to create robots such as ATLAS underway at their facilities, and a new video reveals some of the latest developments.
DARPA has told the press that ATLAS is designed to enter disaster areas such as places contaminated by radiation or toxic chemicals and provide relief. Yet it would also function perfectly on the battlefield.
A Real Life Terminator?
A few versions of ATLAS could be dropped from a plane into enemy territory and sent out to track down and terminate an enemy. This would be the logical extension of the military’s current program of drone strikes. The difference is that the ATLAS would walk up to the foe and either use bullets or explosions to take down the target.
The robot could also be set to explode after it completes its mission in order to destroy all evidence of U.S. involvement. Such robots could also be programmed for other military missions, such as sabotage or retrieving documents and other evidence from locations in foreign countries.
The political advantages to such a robot would be considerable; it could carry out commando raids without the danger of having soldiers captured or killed. The robot could also be deployed to areas where the presence of U.S. troops might create political difficulties, such as Syria.
Might Violate International Law
There, of course, are serious problems to such a robot, including legality under international law. Some observers have noted that drone strikes might violate existing international laws. Drone strikes have also strained our relations with some foreign countries, including our European allies.
Beyond terminators, there’s the possibility of the robot storm trooper—a robot designed to force people to go along with the status quo. Unlike human troops, such a robot would have no conscience and no qualms about gunning down unarmed people or violating rights. Do we really want this technology falling into the hands of Third World dictators?
We need to seriously examine this new technology’s moral and legal ramifications. They’re vast, and they could come home to haunt us in ways we never imagined.