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Sunday, March 04, 2007

War protesters arrested at Carnegie Mellon robotics center

About a dozen anti-war protesters were arrested Friday after some blocked the entrances to Carnegie Mellon University's robotics center. The activists oppose work at the National Robotics Engineering Center, (NREC) which develops advanced mobile robotics and field roboticssystems for business and government, including the development of vehicles and other devices used by the U.S. military. The robotics center gets 87 percent of its funding (about $22 million) from the Department of Defense. Research results from NREC programns will be used as a Future Combat Systems (FCS) technology feed program advancing work on other autonomous vehicle programs including the Armed Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) and the Autonomous Navigation System. (ANS). The vision of Autonomous Combat Systems and Armed Robots is controversial not only from an ethical but also from a technical point of view. Regulating the behaviour of robots is going to become more difficult in the future, since they will increasingly have self-learning mechanisms built into them, says Gianmarco Veruggio, a roboticist at the Institute of Intelligent Systems for Automation in Genoa, Italy in the Economist. As a result, their behaviour will become impossible to predict fully, he says, since they will not be behaving in predefined ways but will learn new behaviour as they go. Who will be resposible for Autonomous Combat Systems when they got wild, have been hi-jacked or became friends with the enemies Autonoumous Combat Systems? Please as your representative in Congress, parliament, Riksdagen, they use your tax and should know - before it is too late.

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