The US military is investing roughly $1 billion over the next several years for the development of robots like iron man to be used in an array of roles alongside combat troops, Bloomberg reported. The US military already uses robots in various capacities, such as in scouting and bomb disposal. However, these new robots will reportedly be able to perform more sophisticated roles including carrying soldier’s gear, complex reconnaissance and detecting hazardous chemicals, exactly like the iron man.
Bryan McVeigh, the Army’s project manager for force protection, says
“There is no doubt that there will be robots in every Army formation within five years. We’re going from talking about robots to actually building and fielding programs. This is an exciting time to be working on robots with the Army.”
The US Army has signed a $429.1 million contract to Endeavor Robotics and QinetiQ North America, both based out of Massachusetts. Endeavor has also signed a separate contract for the Marine Corps and Army in recent months as the US Pentagon pushes for robots in a wide range of sizes.
The introduction of these iron man like robots into combat situations is intended to not only make life easier for troops but also protect them from potentially fatal scenarios. However, there are also concerns about the rapid development of robotic technology in relation to warfare, especially in terms of autonomous robots. In fact, many are uncomfortable with the notion of killer robots deciding who gets to live or die on the battlefield because no one is Tony Stark with a good heart in an iron man suit.
Autonomous robots will likely soon be used by many of us in everyday life and it’s doubtful the armies around the world will have less advanced technology than the public. There’s already an ongoing arms race when it comes to robotic technology between China and the US, among other countries. The US is not pursuing robotic technology because “it’s cool” but because “it thinks it can be applied to certain problems and help save money.”
Critics believe it would be more practical to resolve issues of accountability, rather than pushing for a total ban. The same arguments surrounding this issue mirror a lot of the same concerns people had regarding the nuclear arms race not too long ago. Countries might consider pushing for banning the use of such weapons in certain areas, such as cities, where the risk of killing civilians is much higher but eventually every country will make there own iron man.
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