Russia has started using autonomous sentry robots to guard missile bases – that can identify enemies and make the decision to fire without a human being saying so. Yikes.
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with Russia at the moment. The news comes via New Scientist, which reports that the “mobile robotic complex” will be guarding five ballistic missile installations in Russia. The robots apparently weigh 900kg, have a built in camera and laser range finder, radar sensors… and a 12.7mm heavy machine guns. It can travel at 45mph and operate for 10 hours without a break.
What’s significant about the robots is that that they appear to cross a philosophical line, because unlike, say, the US drone programme that whilst controversial has a human driving the drones, these robots are capable of making the decisions to fire themselves. Apparently similar robots have been used before the US (similarly to guard various military installations), but no one has yet dared give them weapons.
You can see a video of the robots in action below:
Though terrifying, I think we can all sleep easy at night knowing that, if we know one thing about Russia, it is that, umm, Putin is known for his restraint.
By James O'Malley | July 22nd, 2014