Developers at Boston Dynamics, an engineering company specializing in robotics, have released video of an untethered robot capable of standing and mobilizing on its own.
WildCat is a four-legged outdoor runner capable of rising, turning, and reaching running speeds up to 16 mph on flat ground.
WildCat is a close cousin to Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah, another quadrupedal robot that was unveiled a year ago, running at speeds over 28 mph on a treadmill – quicker than world’s fastest man Usain Bolt’s top speed of 27.78 mph. However, unlike WildCat, Cheetah was connected to a power source.
The runner carries a large – and very loud – motor to operate its four limbs, though the weight hampers its speed and agility.
Boston Dynamics has not detailed what is next for WildCat, but it is known to have been developed for military use, as the project is part of the Maximum Mobility and Manipulation Program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.
“What is your ID number? What are you doing here?”
Paul Joseph Watson
July 25, 2013
Robots will be patrolling cities by 2040 according to Professor Noel Sharkey, who predicts their tasks will include asking for ID, tasering and arresting suspects as well as crowd control.
In an article entitled 2084: Big robot is watching you, Sharkey, a robotics professor at the University of Sheffield, forecasts a world in which the jobs of surveillance, security and law enforcement have largely been handed over to artificial intelligence.
WIthin the next 30 years, Sharkey asserts that, “Humanoid walking robots would be more in use for crowd control at games, strikes and riots. Robots will patrol city centres and trouble spots where fights are likely to break out.”
“Robots will have reasonable speech perception and be able to ask questions and respond to answers. What is your ID number? What are you doing here? Move along. They may work in teams of tracked robots with non-lethal weapons (e.g. Tasers or nets) and be on call for diffusing difficult situations and arresting people,” adds Sharkey.
As well as performing more mundane tasks like checking tickets and throwing people out of events, robots will also “be able to spray a crowd with RFID tag darts or some futuristic equivalent so that people can be tracked after the crowd has been dispersed,” writes Sharkey.
NEW YORK – An extremely humanlike robot made a public appearance June 15 at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress, a futuristic conference focused on the technological singularity.
Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University, Japan, described some of his efforts to develop lifelike androids. But there were two Hiroshi Ishiguros onstage: the living, breathing one and a robotic lookalike. The bots human resemblance was striking, even down to its tiny movements and blinking eyes.
Police in a small Ohio town responded to a disturbance involving an inebriated armed man by sending in two spy drone robots. When the man shot one of the droids, he was charged with vandalism of government property.
The incident occurred in Waverly, Ohio last week when officers were called to the scene after neighbours reported hearing gunshots from inside Michael Blevins’ home. Blevins had also allegedly threatened several people, and was thought to have more firearms inside.
When the man refused to answer the door to police, WBNS 10TV news reported that they called for assistance from the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Strategic Response Team.
The response team arrived on the scene and sent in two surveillance robots; one to locate the man, and another to locate his firearms.
Blevins reportedly shot one of the robots with a pistol, rendering it damaged. Police then entered the house and managed to subdue him with a taser. The entire standoff lasted six hours.
After obtaining a search warrant, officers found two AK47 rifles and a prohibited 75-round ammunition drum. Aside from the vandalism charge, Blevins was charged with unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance. Under Ohio law, ammunition magazines can not exceed a 30-round capacity.
The most interesting aspect of this incident is obviously the drone factor. Police all over the country are now employing what are essentially military technologies, which is causing concern for privacy advocates.
In the case of Michael Blevins, sending in drones was a last resort. But what happens as this becomes the norm for police in similar situations?
Of particular concern, however, are the gizmos that are designed to enter people’s homes.
Just last November, a different Ohio police department proudly paraded their newly acquired $11,000 RoboteX AVATAR Micro surveillance robot (as seen below), promising to make it a permanent member of the department’s SWAT team.
Deployment of this kind of technology by police exactly mirrors what was envisaged in the futuristic police state outlined by the inimitable Philip K. Dick in Minority Report:
The fact that this kind of technology now exists and is being adopted for real by police, as is pre-crime technology for that matter, should set alarm bells ringing.
With Department of Homeland Security ‘Fusion Centers’ in every city, and DAPRA’s Total Information Awareness program alive and well, it is clear that the surveillance state is reaching a new degree of advancement.
The next generation of surveillance drones being developed under DARPA, will be fitted with technology known as the Area Persistent Stare, and will literally be able to surveil entire cities at once in real time.
Recent victories for anti-drone activists who have pushed for legislative bans in their cities and states shows how such surveillance over reach can be effectively countered at the local and state level. Those who have any value for privacy should consider joining the push back against the surveillance state before it is too late.