While several robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, are pledging not to weaponize their robots and asked others in the industry to do the same, Chinese firms couldn’t care less and have created the most ridiculous drone that carries a robot war dog equipped with a machine gun.
Let’s start with an open letter obtained by Axios penned by Boston Dynamics, Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics, and Unitree Robotics. Here’s an important section of the letter:
“We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously operated, widely available to the public, and capable of navigating to previously inaccessible locations where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues.”
Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter told Axios in an email that he’s “concerned about recent increases in makeshift efforts by individuals attempting to weaponize commercially available robots.”
He added: “For this technology to be broadly accepted throughout society, the public needs to know they can trust it. And that means we need a policy that prohibits bad actors from misusing it.”
But here’s the issue, America’s adversaries (read: “Dystopian Robot Dogs Now Sporting Guns And Russian Insignia”) don’t care about the open letter’s plea as they weaponize robots ahead of what could be a major conflict between world powers if a spillover in Ukraine materializes.
Footage of a Chinese drone carrying a ‘robo-dog’ equipped with a high-powered machine gun is something straight out of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game. An online video shows the drone flying the war dog onto the top of a building. The robot then maneuvers through the building, searching for the mock enemy with a machine gun strapped to its back.
Blood-Wing, a Chinese defense contractor, demonstrates drone-deploying an armed robodog.
The Future is Now. pic.twitter.com/tRKnKa8xvp
— Lia Wong (@LiaWongOSINT) October 4, 2022
If America’s enemies are weaponizing drones for the modern battlefield, perhaps US robotics firms working with Pentagon/DARPA should be doing the same. The proliferation of drones on the modern battlefield in Ukraine provides a hint of the future of warfighting via automation. And these will be the tools of war in the next great conflict (whenever that is).
The one big issue we see is if these war dogs are transferred to law enforcement agencies and used against Americans. Let’s hope these war robots stay on the battlefield.