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From Our What Could Go Wrong Department: Self-Replicating Machines To Replace Soldiers With Robots

Military Cyborg
According to DefenseNews reporter Paul McLeary, Gen. Robert Cone, head of the service’s Training and Doctrine Command, said recently that the Army is considering the feasibility of shrinking the size of the brigade combat team from about 4,000 soldiers to 3,000 over the coming years, and replacing the lost soldiers with robots and unmanned platforms. 

According to McLeary Cone dropped this bomb during remarks at the Army Aviation Symposium in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 15.

Coming on the heels of an article by George Zarkadakis in British newspaper The Telegraph in which he outlines advances in self-replicating machines we had to add the idea of replacing human soldiers with robots to our “what could go wrong” file.

As Zarkadakis observed in his article, self-replicating machines, or at least the theory of self-replicating machines, has been around, at least in theory, for decades. In 1949, the mathematician John von Neumann showed how a machine could replicate itself. He called it the “universal constructor” because the machine was both an active component of the construction and the target of the copying process.

Although von Neumann’s model initially worked only in mathematical space, it was a clear demonstration that evolution may influence mechanical evolution. Since then, engineers have taken the principle on board and have produced physical applications such as RepRap machines – 3D printers that can print most of their own components.

The next logical step would be to apply these principles in robot reproduction. For instance, we could have a robotic factory with three classes of robots: one for mining and transporting raw material, one for assembling raw materials into finished robots and one for designing processes and products. The last class, the “brains” of the autonomous robotic factory, would be artificial intelligence systems. But could these robots also “evolve”? 

Or more worryingly, could they become independent of their original human designers and builders?

Ultimately, the question whether self-reproducing robots will evolve or not boils down to the capability of artificial intelligence systems to self-improve. Only then could the “brains” of the robotic factory build evolved robots without the need of human designers.

It’s already happening according to The Telegraph’s George Zarkadakis. Machine learning has been around for years notes Zarkadkis. New algorithms for data analysis, combined with increasing computer power and interconnectedness, means that intelligent machines will be able to comprehend massive amounts of contextual information. They would not only be able to understand what a piece of information is about, but how it relates to other information. The capability to understand correlations and get “the big picture” could potentially enable them to set their own goals. Already there are autonomous robotic systems that do that, military drones being an example. “Self-improvement” and reproduction could be next.

The DefenseNews report by Paul McLeary confirms a report we cited earlier this month by LiveScience contributor Erik Schechter that the Pentagon wants to reduce costs by offloading as many human tasks as possible onto machines. 

Coupled with an article by The Daily Mail’s Sarah Griffiths reporting  on drones that can choose to deviate from a set mission and hunt in ‘swarms’ and the idea that such machines could soon be patrolling America’s skies we have to ask the obvious question: “What could go wrong with that?”

You don’t have to be a fan of science fiction writer Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series of short stories and novels about robotic self-replicating war machines programmed to destroy all life or Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot” short stories to recognize that, even to a machine, laws are made to be broken, especially if that machine is given the autonomy to choose a better target than the one assigned to it by its human controllers and can evolve and learn.

Under our Constitution only Congress can declare war. Likewise, only Congress can authorize and fund our military force levels. So, as much as the Pentagon would like to “offload” to a machine many of the dangerous jobs in a war zone and lose the “personnel costs” in the process, the human task of debating the pros and cons of an attack that would amount to a declaration of war is something only US citizen humans elected by other US citizen humans can do under our Constitution. 

Likewise, “offloading” to a machine the choice to kill a target, especially if that target is an American citizen, is a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause that no American may be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

Substituting the judgment of a machine for the judgment of a jury of one’s peers in what amounts to a death penalty case, with no appeal, opens a whole new and frightening front in the battle to maintain liberty under the Constitution in this country.

Similarly, off-loading to machines the jobs of establishing and maintaining the size and capabilities of the US military is not possible in a constitutional republic.

The notion that creating a factory capable of reproducing itself and producing armed, autonomous drones and robots equals “scientific progress” reminds us all too much of the celebrations of the technical achievements involved in the NSA’s as yet uncharted ability to eavesdrop on virtually any form of communication.

Yes, it would represent an astonishing level of scientific and technical know how, but is it constitutional? 

We are extremely skeptical that self-reproducing armed autonomous drones and robots will save money or make America safer. Until the scientific and technical geniuses behind the idea of autonomous armed drones and robots also equip them with a foolproof “Constitution chip” we remain opponents of the deployment of such technology.

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Robot Army

How about "Robot Congressmen". We the People will require they be programmed to champion OUR priorities and lock those priorities in so they can't double-cross us as so many of our "representatives" now do.

Our Rino Congressmen and Senators are already

Hopefully, there will not be a Constitutional Convention to pollute the purity of what the founders put in place. Of course, Christians like myself believe that our Constitution is divinely inspired.

To a certain degree Boehner, McConnell, Ryan, Cantor are all robots in that they dance to the beat of the Chamber of Commerce and the Elitist Oligarchs. Cantor rubs elbows with the owner of Revlon. I am sure that Boehner and McConnell have feathered their nests so that once they are no longer in Congress. They will somehow garner a fat bonus check from the Chamber of Commerce and its donors.

This Soldiering Robot thing is scary though. Corporate America's does not seem to believe in "Free Enterprise" they believe in managed trade, monopolies and taking civil liberties away from hard working americans. People like Eric Cantor has no idea how average americans struggle just to put food on the table. On the one hand they want to cut off social safety nets by making people look lazy and saying they don't wont to work and even Rand Paul who said that if Unemployment insurance was extended people would lose their incentive to go out and find a job. He too has no idea what he is talking about. I will admit there are some who take advantage of the system true, but not all people are out there doing this.

The Soldiering Robots is just another way big corporations can reap the harvest for bigh profits by making it harder for the poor to even have the opportunity to join the military in order to improve their lot in life. They would argue that you wouldn't have to worry about a paycheck for a robot. Its crazy.

Eric Cantor's Billionaire Revlon Connection

http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/for-billionaire-ron-perelman-can...

U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS EVIL

I AM SURE THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS BEHIND THIS TOO. THEY WANT TO BLEED AMERICANS TO DEATH. THEY WANT US ALL TO BE SERFS AND BOW DOWN TO THE CORPORATE ELITE. WHEN AMERICANS CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO EAT AT MCDONALDS THEN SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG.

U.S.CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WANTS TO PRIVATIZE SOLDIERING SO THEY CAN DO ANYTHING THEY WANT TO DO AND NO ONE QUESTIONS THEM THEY WANT US ALL TO LIVE IN A POLICE STATE. EVERYBODY HAS TO BE POOR BUT THEM.

KIND OF LIKE WHAT THEY DID WITH TORT REFORM, THEY WANT TO DO THE SAME WITH WITH SOLDIERING. STRIPPING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OF CIVIL LIBERTIES.

HOT COFFEE YOU WILL BE SHOCKED !!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgirwfnQqeM