Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Cyborgs are here!

They don't get hungry.
They're not afraid.
They never forget their order.
They don't care if the guy next to them is shot.
Will they perform better than humans -- we'll see that :).

Sci-fi writers have fancied AI enabled, swiftly moving, mean killer machine robots for decades now. Movies like The Terminator, RoboCop potray immense possibilities in the field of robotics. Matrix and Terminator series even saw the possibility of a take over of Earth by machines!

All this is not longer figments of imagination but very much here (we still have to see the take over deal :) ). The article here informs us about the RnD work being carried out by the US Army in this direction. They are looking for possibilities in this area for last 30 years and it is supposed to take around 30 more years to manage an entirely independent army of robots. But they are supposed to be a major fighting force in next 10 years. Initially they will be manually controlled remotely. Robots in battle, as envisioned by their builders, may look and move like humans or hummingbirds, tractors or tanks, cockroaches or crickets. With the development of nanotechnology - the science of very small structures - they may become swarms of "smart dust." The Pentagon intends for robots to haul munitions, gather intelligence, search buildings or blow them up.

Already we've several robots digging Iraq for land-mines, small unmanned planes doing the spy work. AI is coming up as an area of great potential. It was supposed to get stagnent some time back, but the advent of robotics and putting intelligent decision trees in their heads has revived the entire research community for AI.

So next time you hear, Is it a bird? Is it a plane?, it may not necessarily be Superman there :).

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