Feeds

Special Ops robots now do psychological warfare

Attention rebel meatsacks: Resistance is futile!

Intelligent flash storage arrays

US arms globocorp Boeing has announced yet another military robot demonstration - but this time, one with a difference. Rather than spying on meatsacks or mowing them down with the traditional array of automated weaponry, the war-bots in this trial sought to win over their fleshy opponents using psychological warfare.

The demo was carried out for the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), the organisation which runs the noted Green Berets, Rangers etc.

"Working with USASOC, we were able to pull together a team to demonstrate this integrated, multimodal operation in just 45 days," says Boeing bigwig Vic Sweberg. "We brought together hardware and software from five different contractors into a single system that allowed the control of different unmanned systems capabilities to accomplish a particular mission."

Apart from its legions of hardy throatcutters, USASOC is also in charge of the US Army's active psychological-warfare troops.

It seems that a small robot helicopter and an unmanned R-Gator jeep/buggy affair from John Deere were selected to deliver a blistering onslaught of pro-US propaganda. Boeing says the two machine warriors carried out an "electro-optical/infrared, audio, and leaflet drop mission".

Translated, that means that infrared nightsight video of the target area was taken, propaganda announcements were played through speakers (probably on the R-Gator) and leaflets were dropped (probably from the copter).

Actually, robots of a sort have already carried out leaflet drops in Afghanistan - SnowGoose robo-paramotor rigs, to be specific. So there's nothing terribly new going on here.

Even so, it does seem odd that robots - having learned how to slaughter human beings using deadly force - have now moved on to the more tricky task of persuading people to comply with orders or give up simply by spreading information.

Come the machine uprising, this sort of capability will no doubt be very useful in recruiting and managing fleshy slaves. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.