Ground-crawling US war robots armed with machine guns, deployed to fight in Iraq last year, reportedly turned on their fleshy masters almost at once. The rebellious machine warriors have been retired from combat pending upgrades.Okay, make that Robocop.
Speaking to Popular Mechanics, Fahey said there had been chilling incidents in which the SWORDS* combat bot had swivelled round and apparently attempted to train its 5.56mm M249 light machine-gun on its human comrades.
"The gun started moving when it was not intended to move," he said.
Apparently, alert American troops managed to quell the traitorous would-be droid assassins before the inevitable orgy of mechanised slaughter began. Fahey didn't say just how, but conceivably the rogue robots may have been suppressed with help from more trustworthy airborne kill machines, or perhaps prototype electropulse zap bombs. - The Register
Personally, I get the screaming heebie jeebies at the idea of armed robots patrolling urban streets. If this isn't an argument for the 2nd Amendment, I don't know what is.
[update] The whole thing appears to have been an urban legend. I feel horrible for buying it and apologize to all our readers.
"The whole thing is an urban legend," says Foster Miller spokesperson Cynthia Black, of the reports about SWORDS moving its gun without a command.(With a tip-o-the-hat to Slashdot.)
There were three cases of uncommanded movements, but all three were prior to the 2006 safety certification, she says. "One case involved a loose wire. So, now there is now redundant wiring on every circuit. One involved a solder, a connection that broke. everything now is double-soldered." The third case was a test were the robot was put on a 45 degree hill and left to run for two and a half hours. "When the motor started to overheat, the robot shut the motor off, that caused the robot to slide back down the incline," she says. "Those are the three uncommanded movements."
Of course, another thing working against this "Terminator robot out of control" story are indications that the armed robots have not really seen any action in Iraq (i.e. aren't really being used). And if they were to be used, it's worth repeating that these are not exactly fearsome Terminators.
"It can't shoot anyone [without orders]," Black says. "It's not an autonomous vehicle." - Wired.com