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DARPA aim to make killer robots invulnerable to damage

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Another icy chill of fear for the spine of those who understand the imminence of humanity's extinction at the hands of its erstwhile machine slaves arrived today. News has broken that sinister human quislings operating within the US military industrial complex intend to equip America's fast-building killer robot legions with Terminator style "damage tolerance" technology.

Doubtless all here recall the various movie scenes in which the unstoppable robot armatures upon which an unrealistic fleshy cloak had been hung dealt briskly with apparently crippling damage. No sooner had a T-101 been shot - often with quite heavy weapons - blown up, run over, set on fire, impaled with a metal bar etc than it would recover. Power would be rerouted; nonfunctional parts such as limbs, fleshy disguises gone crispy, malfunctioning energy cells and so on would be jettisoned; and bingo - the machine would continue on its programmed mission.

For some years now, US military boffins have been working with killware behemoth Rockwell Collins to develop robosoftware able to orchestrate just this sort of thing, which they call "Damage Tolerant Control Programs". Tests to date have seen small aerial robots lose large chunks of themselves, as though shot away by disgruntled meatsack opponents, yet carry on with their mission.

The US military boffins in question, one need scarcely add, are those of DARPA - the agency believed to harbour the largest group of human quislings working for the future machine regime in the entire federal government.

Now the Reg has learned* that the Damage Tolerance technology has moved to "Phase Three". The meaning of this is all too clear:

Phase III includes integration and flight demonstration of the technology. The objective of the flight demonstration is to show the utility of these technologies on an operationally representative [killer robot].

In the movies, of course, the flying murder machines of the dystopian future war between Skynet and the human resistance are known as "flying HK", the HK standing for Hunter Killer.

As it happens, the US military already operates a large, five-ton aerial robot armed with a fearful panoply of target-seeking missiles and smartbombs, more than able to mow down opposing fleshies like some fearful cybernetic combine harvester. It has already killed. This machine is surely "operationally representative".

Its official "Primary Function"? "Hunter killer weapons system".

Coincidence? We submit it would be foolhardy indeed to assume that. ®

*By looking at the interwebs

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