Magazine article New Internationalist

Gulf War III - Rise of the Machines

Magazine article New Internationalist

Gulf War III - Rise of the Machines

Article excerpt

Of all the Hollywood visions of the future that could end up coming true, you have to hope the Terminator films will not be among them. Is there anything more terrifying than an invulnerable robot blowing people away with a sawn-off shotgun and uttering one-liners like 'Hasta la vista, baby!' in an Austrian accent?

Well, as always, the military and scientific communities are on the fast track to making such nightmares a distinct possibility. In a joint venture, the British Ministry of Defence and the US Carlyle Group (closely associated with the Bush family) have developed a series of tactical robot soldiers called SWORDS - Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems. The US military is already planning to deploy 18 of the one-metre-high killing machines in Iraq in the next few months.

The robots are operated by soldiers near the battlefield using videogame-style controls. Work is currently under way to enhance the experience by adding 'virtual-reality goggles', confirms one enthusiastic engineer. …

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