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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
These will change warfare as we know it. I'm talking rewriting infantry tactics and police SWAT for that matter.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_pwwi/is_200604/ai_n16122132/
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d=98471

If not this specific company consider these projects by Boston Dynamics

http://www.bostondynamics.com/

What could you do with a small legged platform? What could you do in surveillance, interdiction, force on force..? Think of all the SF ideas that were futuristic now in reach. No revolutionary breakthroughs required just money and engineering. I'm sure countermeasures will be developed but right now I'm not seeing alot poor individuals or countries can do...
 

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Cyberdyne Systems Model T-101 next? Really, the concept of an android that looks and moves like a human isn't so far fetched. The basic problems are with voice, balance, skin and injuries. If the mathematicians and physicists ever work out how to make the machinery perform the thousands of small corrections to position that we make unconsciously to maintain balance, how to perfectly simulate human tonal and inflection patterns of speech, and the chemists and biologists ever work out how to attach actual human tissues such as skin and blood to a robotic framework that will grow, die, and heal like real skin and blood, most of the problems will be solved. The last hurtle would then be to successfully build a true artificial intelligence. That isn't that far off. Talk about the perfect spy!

Of course, there is a downside. Such a machine would take the guilt out of killing. The things would inevitably be ascribed human characteristics just like we do many other non-living things and animals. Their controllers would come to view killing with these machines as "I didn't kill them; he (the machine) did." It would take the morality out of such operations. In Federal alphabet agency ops (CIA, FBI, DHS, etc.) there is already precious little morality at play. Don't think for one minute that, if these things ever come to fruition, these agencies and their political masters would hesitate to unleash them upon American citizens with little or no provocation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm more concerned with the small multi legged robot variety in combat. They're almost off the shelf ready. More on that later.

Disociation via the instraments of war. I've heard of it in bomber pilots back in Vietnam. Probably goes back before that. Commanders in general get that too. Then they're not ready when an action of thier's get a one of thier soldiers irreversable dead.

sorry kind of went into left feild with that.
 

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Not really in left field at all. I have seen CIA recruiting ads on TV very late at night that use a representation of a mechanical "dragonfly" in the ad to represent a "bug" (as in a listening device). I have seen some of the unclassified research and do not believe such a thing to be far fetched at all. In fact, I would not be surprised to find out that some of this "near future" technology actually already exists. You military folks here (especially Garand), what would be the effect of the detonation of say, 6 oz. or so of comp B or Comp C or even a half stick of dynamite? Assume that it is contained in a metallic or nonmetallic container that is designed to fragment upon detonation in such a way that it will do damage to surrounding personnel. I chose 6 oz. arbitrarily from what little I know of those types of explosives and with the idea that such a weight would be easily transported by a very small mobile device. It occurs to me that a remarkably small robotic vehicle could transport that amount (or possibly much more than that) into a position to do a lot of damage to personnel or decimate a forward position very easily without being noticed in the chaos of a combat action. Even a busy base camp situation might lend itself well to such a combat op.

I too have heard of dissociation via the instruments of war. There are parallels to it in everyday, civilian life. "We didn't mistype that word, the computer screwed it up. It was the slick road, not the guy weaving in and out of traffic at 90 mph, that caused the accident." That sort of thing. It is human nature to not take responsibility for bad things happening if we can avoid it. This is especially true in situations that result in the loss of life and limb. Very few troops in a combat situation actually want to kill the enemy. They want to survive the combat. This puts their basic survival instinct to live in direct opposition to their moral imperative to avoid taking human life. Generally, the will to live must triumph in order for the soldier to survive, though not always. The common, though not universal, outcome is for the soldier to transfer the "blame" for enemy casualties they inflicted to whatever they can, including to the enemy. The other, also common, result is for the soldier to come to terms with the situation and learn to live with the justified taking of life that they did. This is not easy in the best, most clear cut, of circumstances. It is usually not a fast process either. I know of no place in any religious text, that does not outright declare all taking of life is wrong, where it is written that killing in declared combat is wrong. Nor do I know of anyplace where it is written that killing in self defense is wrong in those same texts. For all of that however, our morality generally refuses to take the act lightly, nor will it allow us to. This "terminator" I was theorizing about above would be unique in the arsenal of weapons. It would walk like a human, talk like a human, look like a human, and act like a human; but it would not be a human. It strikes me that these characteristics would combine to make it especially easy to blame the machine over the controller. If such a machine were to be programmed with a true AI that would allow it to act on its orders independently of active human control, it would be easier yet and most compelling to blame the "thinking machine".
 

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Cutter, your views are interesting and one would hope that a true AI solider is never created. His mission would be to kill the enemy solider, what happens when the enemy is injured or attempts to surrender? Would the AI be that intelligent? One thing that makes combat "civil" is that "prisoners" can expect to receive humane treatment and not be shot down on the spot if they attempt to surrender. No humane treatment and the combat turns to a deathmatch.

I myself would be more scared of the light robots that could carry small explosives. They could be viewed as disposable and therefore most dangerous. Think of hundreds of small crawlers coming to your position and exploding on contact with a infrared signal. Too many and too small to shoot forcing you to give up your position and bug out.
 

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You are basically describing a walking hand grenade. Bad thing is that they would be about as cheap to make and procure as a basic grenade. Explosives technology is very, very old and very cheap. Civilian application of the sort of tech that would make these miniature war machines possible has made it very inexpensive as well and it is getting cheaper all the time. From a military standpoint, half a dozen soldiers with a couple of tractor trailers and a couple of laptops is a lot cheaper than a company of troops. There is a moral component too. Even if those half dozen soldiers are killed and their vehicles and equipment destroyed, the Administration can honestly tell the Citizenry, "We scored a major victory and sustained only six casualties and lost only 2 trucks." Casualty rates in the teens don't inspire public outcry nearly so much as rates in the dozens or hundreds.

We can take comfort in one thing. When governments or terrorists start fielding such weapons, effective countermeasures for them won't be far behind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've been meaning to speak on this.

These walking land mines have a lot of applications. They obviously add abilities to regular mine fields. They can counter breeching operations, they can expand or contract side to side or in depth or relocate themselves in accordance with the situation. The controllers let freindly troops through and have a range of responces for hostiles. They could even self-camouflage to some degree. (With 8-ish legs one could "place" leaves ectra on another till there's just one left that could then hide behind a rock. The first generation would probably require the controllers to do alot of "right leg #2 move here, now left leg #1..." After a few generations of upgrades it would just be another subroutine) What really makes me think is how you could use them as an observation platform. Now you have a minefield that “sees” you outside of it’s area and calls in artillery on you. Or the controllers see a bunch of guys with shovels. Let them pass and we’ll stop and interrogate them. No one available for hours? Surround then and “detain” them till we have someone available or maybe even follow them? I imagine what these mines would be like in a battle. They wait for a convoy and come charging out onto the road or you wake up and they’re all in the motor pool or surrounding your tent. One vareint has a speaker on it's back telling you to lay down your arms. You could try and shoot them but if 3 come charging at you to blow up when you do, that would discourage that tactic. Especially, if there’re 400 and it didn’t do a bit of good to get you out of the situation. What if you have 10 of them that crawled in the AC vents or the sewers of the command post? Used to be you could call fire on an enemy CP but now you could listen in until the critical part of an battle or enemy higher ups come in and them Ka-boom! You could send them ahead of your troops to find and clear wire or regular mines or go after enemy positions in Kamikaze attacks.

I'm also thinking if not the first generation then the next one could have a solar powered varient that the others could plug into to recharge.

What kind of counter measure could you have? Lots and lots of barbwire and trip wires so that not even a kitten could get through would slow them down if they were trying to be stealthy but that’s about it.
 

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Countermeasures would have to be EM based. In the earlier generations of them, EM interference would slow or stop most of them by blocking signal from their control. The only answer to that kind of counter would be on board pre-programming. The catch is that whatever would jam their signal would also likely jam all of yours, unless you managed to somehow focus the jamming field. An EMP would probably stop most all of the early and later versions of the little metal beasties, even if true AI were developed to guide them. There again, if it couldn't be focused in a given direction, you would suffer as much as they would. If it couldn't be quickly, easily, and inexpensively repeated, you would stop the first wave just in time to see the second one bearing down on you. Plus, for EMP you need a nuclear detonation at this time. That right there opens a whole can of worms that make the problems with defending against these things downright insignificant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I can't remember if it's feilded but I there is a purely EMP (not the same as the old nuclear artillery) shell. You're right about hurting yourself probably about as much as the enemy though. Also I don't think sheilding would be that difficult. Preprograming (like occupy this bridge or if no commands in 10 min call control) would keep them on mission unless you were trying to do some delicate espinage type stuff.
 

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There is no shield against EMP if done correctly. There is directional EMP, it just is not strong enough yet to fully fry circuits, or it was not last time I new about it.

Countermeasures, I can just see us building little bugs to blow up their little bugs. It never ends does it?
 

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You guys need to play Starcraft. It's a futuristic strategy game that has these nifty little buggers called "spider mines." When placed in a given area they bury themselves until they detect enemy movement then come popping out of the dirt and charge in kamikaze style. PITA to stop unless you have more riflemen than they have mines. On the topic of the real deal robots in development...I think the most effective countermeasure, at least in defense of a static position, has been around an awful long time but, has largely fallen out of favor in current military preparation. I'm talking about a mote. I doubt they're buoyant and even supposing they are...I doubt they can swim. Also, water is a fairly difficult medium to transmit RF signals through which should effectively stop the little nasties as soon as they sink. They could all charge at one area of your mote attempting to build a bridge across with submerged units but that tactic should be rendered ineffective b/c it give you an area to concentrate fire rather than attempting to fire at a diffuse and mobile threat. My worry is they scale these six-legged bastards up and make working prototypes of the 'hounds' from Fahrenheit 451.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Moat?

I was looking into EMP. Seems sheilding is possible from what I'm reading but I'm no expert.

A moat, I like it. A ditch with some concitena or good old deep mud or strong current would keep them them from simply walking across the bottom. That would keep them out. Of course it would keep you in for that matter. I mean any "bridge" you had would automatically have the little buggers waiting for you at it. Aerial resupply/operations would be best.
 

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Shielding is possible against EMP but it requires solid grounding. The trick ambulances and fire trucks use of dragging lengths of chain to dissipate static charges wouldn't work against EMP. A well grounded metal shield (literally) generally does the trick so long as incoming utilities are also shielded. Either way, the required grounding renders the shielded object tethered and rather static.

A moat is a great idea. Even if it had breaks for ingress and egress, it would be really useful. The openings would tend to concentrate the little beasties, but you could concentrate fire on them just as easily. To my mind, a couple of SAW's and/or the Viet Nam era "bee hive" artillery rounds could be used to great effect at those choke points. I think the concitena wire would be effective too. In fact, any kind of wire or material that would likely entangle the legs or tracks on which they would move would slow them down considerably. The drop into such a ditch would likely stop some just by virtue of landing them on their backs and the sheer face they would have to scale to get out would stop many more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tumble bot

I was looking for this vid when I opened this thread. This bugger is KISS uncomplicated and therefore cheaper than the spider mine idea I'd been mainly thinking about:

http://www.technologyreview.com/video/?vid=336

Instead of walking it "tumbles". Build in some C4 and let lose 400 to wreck havoc.

Cutter, I may be having one of my hallucinations but you're some sort of electrician correct? If so, I'll take your word as authoritive then. Can you explain a bit I read about the PRC77 being sheildeded? (I think you also alluded to some military experience and are familair with one). Does that mean they had to have a grounding rod ectra?

Like a moat (where you can put one in) I was thinking for the cost of a "spider mine" a PVT with a shovel could dig dozens of 3 or 4"+ holes just like a grenade sump but covered over and concealed. A some water in the bottom and you could trap a few in each hole like a miniature burmese tiger pit. The controllers would be looking and then "Where'd unit 177 go?"
 

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I am an electrician but do not have military experience. Forgive me, but what is a PRC77? Yes and no on the ground rod. They must be grounded. A ground rod is the easiest and most effective way to ground, along with ground plates and ground rings which are just variations on the ground rod theme. Most EM shielding done today in the commercial world is done to keep EM signal radiation in rather than to keep damaging EMP out. I am not a true expert on EM shielding. I do not know the finer points of tailoring EM shielding to guard against specific wavelengths. It can be done to selectively permit some wavelengths through while blocking others, but I do not know how. Still, all such shielding systems have in common that they must have a solid, low impedence path to ground. The EMP shields have to have a high capacity, solid, low impedence path in order to take the extremely high voltages produced and drain them safely to ground. EMP shielding like we are talking about in this forum would be a lot like lightning protection on some major steroids and designed for something more like ball lightning rather than a bolt.
 

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I forgot to mention that while that tumble bot looks like an easy idea to produce, it seems to have a problem with traveling in straight lines. Solve that little problem and the thing becomes useful.
 

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Actually the PRC-77 is capable of being fried by an EMP, the magic ingredient that is damaged is the transistors. It's predecessor the PRC-25 which looked identical, weighed a couple of pounds more had some vacuum tubes instead. They were more hardened to the EMP of a nuclear blast. The armor on armored vehicles also gave some levels of protection to the electronics. At least that is what we were told would happen. It would really suck to be an M1 tanker close enough to a blast to have the electronics fried and basically be converted to an infantryman, who is now focused on getting out of the area on foot trying to escape the radiation. Personally I think you probably would have been done for. All this discussion keeps reminding me of a weapon the US was working on in the late '80s, I think it was called a DEW directed energy weapon. It was basically an aimable EMP, the prototype I saw pictures of was mounted on a Marine Corp AmTrac. It was supposed to work by messing up the electronics on anything that it was pointed at...

Just think a weapon like that would offer you protection from alot of the latest and greatest weapons out there. Point it at a predator, an F-22 or an F16 and the bird just goes really stupid on the pilot. I was talking to an AF pilot one day, he was concerned that if anybody ever figured out how to jam the radio and satelite signals effectively. the US would loose most of it's recon capacity.
 

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I think I read something in the last year about ongoing DEW research. That technology is not dead, just quietly ongoing. You have a real point about its effectiveness on modern weaponry. I still have no idea what a PRC-77 or PRC-25 is.

I think that combat forces the world over have lost something with all the new tech. The gadgets and gizmos do much of the work for troops that used to require skills that are long lost with most. If counter measures for such weaponry ever become viable, I think those of us that still know the old skills would be at a great advantage if faced with an enemy using modern weaponry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The AN/PRC-77: Army Navy Portable Radio Communication. Watch any Vietnam war movie and it's the radio on the guy's back (who inevitably gets hit). I trained on it, it's a brick and a half. The PRC 25 is it's older brother with vacuum tubes. http://www.olive-drab.com/od_electronics_anprc25.php
I was reading somewhere that Vacuum tubes are supposed to survuve better but in actual testing the 77 did better than the 25. I'll look for a source since that's at odds with conventional wisdom. I was wondering since it was a man pack if it's survival of an EMP would be only if you stopped and grounded it (along with shutting it off and taking off the antenna ect).

I'm reaching back in my memory if directed EMP was something I saw in offical pubs or Popular Science.
 
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