Humans around the world are growing progressively concerned about bad robots. Images like the one above stoke the fear that man will create computers that are smarter than their makers. What use are humans to those sorts of machines? The answer doesn’t inspire confidence. We may end up as food.
“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” Harry Schoell, CEO of Cyclone Power said in a press release meant to quell the concern.
Rumors about Cyclone Power’s robot leaked, and the news wasn’t well received, even by those in the scientific community.
“We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous.”
So instead of eating people, these engines eat plant matter. For a frame of reference, the company would like you to think of this plant eating machine. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Or maybe not. “This robot was then given the appropriate acronym, EATR (Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot),” WeAretheMighty writes. “The project began in 2003 and is a DARPA-funded venture between Cyclone Power Technologies and Robotic Technology, Inc.”
It doesn’t help that robots like the one below are already performing similar functions. Even though it is just picking up a pretend victim, this Japanese robot looks terrifying.
Nothing says “military applications” like DARPA funding. Yet the makers insist this isn’t a corpse-devouring automaton. It is designed for material support in areas where troops may need extra strength. They can also perform the more dangerous tasks of target acquisition and casualty extraction.
So the machine is like a pack mule of sorts. As WeAretheMighty notes, “the desecration of corpses is specifically forbidden by the Geneva Conventions.” No eating dead people. Instead, it will use “fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings, and wood chips — small, plant-based items.”
“As of April 2009, RTI estimated that 150 pounds of biofuel vegetation could provide sufficient energy to drive the to vehicle 100 miles. The second phase of the project will have the engine determine which materials are suitable (edible) for conversion into fuel, locate those materials, and then ingest them. Basically, the machine is going to learn to eat on its own.”
It will learn to eat on its own. This is the part that has everyone sweating. And it the fear hasn’t really abated yet.