Israel unveiled a new remote-controlled killer robot Monday at a major weapons fair in the U.K. that human rights advocates are criticizing as an event to sell “death machines” and tools of abuse.
Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Rex MK II is a four-wheeled vehicle mounted with two machine guns to carry out remote attacks. According to a press statement from the state-owned company announcing the release, the robot has already been sold to global customers.
The weapon was unveiled Monday at Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London, an event that occurs every two years and is one of the world’s biggest arms fairs. The weapons expo has faced sustained condemnation from anti-war campaigners who say it’s a venue “where those who profit from war, repression, and injustice do business.”
IAI describes the robot as an unmanned land vehicle that can carry a load of 1.3 tons and execute operations including intelligence gathering using “electro-optical sensors and radar.” It can also be used to launch attacks with “remotely controlled weapons systems including a 7.62mm machine gun” and “a cal 0.50 heavy machine gun,” the company says, and serve “as a multi-mission multi-purpose platform to support additional missions based on troops needs.”
Hawaii police are defending their use of pandemic relief funds for a robotic “police dog” made by Boston Dynamics which scans homeless people’s eyes to see if they have a fever.
“If you’re homeless and looking for temporary shelter in Hawaii’s capital, expect a visit from a robotic police dog that will scan your eye to make sure you don’t have a fever,” says a new report from Associated Press. “That’s just one of the ways public safety agencies are starting to use Spot, the best-known of a new commercial category of robots that trot around with animal-like agility.”
“Acting Lt. Joseph O’Neal of the Honolulu Police Department’s community outreach unit defended the robot’s use in a media demonstration earlier this year,” AP reports. “He said it has protected officers, shelter staff and residents by scanning body temperatures between meal times at a shelter where homeless people could quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. The robot is also used to remotely interview individuals who have tested positive.”
The Russian military will soon be equipped with autonomous war robots capable of acting independently on the battlefield, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said, adding that Moscow has launched mass production of such machines.
“These are not just some experimental prototypes but robots that can really be shown in sci-fi movies since they can fight on their own,” the minister told the Russian Zvezda broadcaster during the ‘New Knowledge’ forum, on Friday. Held in several Russian cities from May 20 to May 22, the forum is a series of educational events featuring top specialists in a variety of fields.
“A major effort” has been made to develop “the weapons of the future,” Shoigu said, referring to war robots equipped with artificial intelligence (AI). The bots, which are said to be capable of independently accessing a combat situation, are part of the new state-of-the-art arsenal that the Russian military is currently focused on.
Marines scored a direct hit in a first-ever live-fire test in which they launched a Navy missile from the back of an unmanned tactical vehicle to strike a surface target at sea.
The Marine Corps has combined two existing technologies to produce a deadly new way to hit targets offshore. Coined NMESIS, the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System can launch naval strike missiles from the back of a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, to destroy targets on land or at sea.
Raytheon Missiles and Defense, which makes the naval strike missile, announced Wednesday that the Marine Corps used NMESIS to hit a target in the water from Point Mugu Sea Range in California. The missile can take out targets from more than 100 nautical miles away.
For many people who have lost their significant others, sex dolls have provided one way to ease the pain of grief and loneliness.
However, sex robot company Lux Botics is taking things one step further – by offering a clone of dead partners using state-of-the-art three-dimensional modeling.
With demand for sex dolls booming amid the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns across the world, Lux Botics is offering “ultra-realistic humanoids” to satisfy the carnal needs of the singles without any other recourse.
The company’s flagship “Adult Companion” model called Stephanie goes for USD $6,000 on the Lux Botics website.
For a couple of decades, police forces across the country have been militarized. Stepping into a new decade, police forces, like NYPD, are seeking to deploy automation and artificial intelligence systems to combat crime.
NYPD first received the robot dog, called “Digidog,” a couple of months ago. At the time, NYPD Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector (TARU) Frank Digiacomo told ABC7 that the four-legged robotic dog “will save lives, protect people, and protect officers and that’s our goal.”
Digidog is like any Boston Dynamics Spot robot – though this one is equipped with lights, two-way communication, and video cameras.
The latest video shows the 70-pound robot being tested in the Bronx. The department also deployed the robotic dog back in October to a Brooklyn shooting.
To summarize the company’s manifesto. It said: “See Spot KILL!! Spot is an empathy-building tool, because: Cute and approachable!”
Here’s the manifesto:
See Spot Run. It tops out at a blistering 3mph.
See Spot Roll Over. Spot is an empathy missile, shaped like man’s best friend and targeted straight at our fight or flight instinct. When killer robots come to America they will be wrapped in fur, carrying a ball. Spot is Rob Rhinehart’s ideal pet: it never shits.
Good Boy, Spot! Everyone in this world takes one look at cute little Spot and knows: this thing will definitely be used by police and the military to murder people. And what do police departments have? Strong unions! Spot is employee of the month. You never need to union bust a robot – but a robot can union bust you.
The manifesto continued, “Boston Dynamics and they HATED this idea.” They said the robotics company even offered them two free robots to call off the event.
See Spot KILL!! Spot is an empathy building tool, because: Cute and approachable! We talked with Boston Dynamics and they HATED this idea. They said they would give us another TWO Spots for FREE if we took the gun off. That just made us want to do this even more and if our Spot stops working just know they have a backdoor override built into each and every one of these little robots.
See Spot Fall Over And Freak Out. Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave. Our saving grace: Spot is evil but not very good at its job.
Boston Dynamics wasn’t thrilled with the stunt.
Ayanna Howard, a robotics researcher at Georgia Tech, is concerned that robot technology, that ultimately uses human inputted artificial intelligence, will show biases against blacks. She tells the New York Times that “given the current tensions arising from police shootings of African-American men from Ferguson to Baton Rouge, it is disconcerting that robot peacekeepers, including police and military robots, will, at some point, be given increased freedom to decide whether to take a human life, especially if problems related to bias have not been resolved.”
Howard and others say that many of today’s algorithms are biased against people of color and others who are unlike the white, male, affluent and able-bodied designers of most computer and robot systems