August 02, 2003
Taking the Human out of the Loop

The U.S. Joint Forces Command is performing a study called “Unmanned Effects: Taking the Human out of the Loop” examining ideas for the widespread use of tactical, autonomous robots throughout the U.S. military [via].

This article quotes Gordon Johnson, the Unmanned Effects Team leader for Project Alpha (the “U.S. Joint Forces Command rapid idea analysis group” in charge of the study):

“We call them tactical autonomous combatants because they'll operate largely autonomously with some limited human supervision,” explained Johnson. “We're talking about, where we can and where we have the capability of replacing humans. We're not talking about the operational level or strategic level, but at the tactical level, still using humans where we need to. Using adjustable autonomy or supervised autonomy, humans will still have to interact with the machines and help guide them.”

And, somewhat ominously, and to me at least, implausibly:

“We believe that other countries or groups will pursue robotics,” Richards said. “We can be at the vanguard, or we can lag behind and some day have to oppose a lethal robotic force. Better to be in the lead.”

Posted by jjwiseman at August 02, 2003 05:43 PM

Somewhat OT, but tangentially related: almost every time I go out on the streets these days (I work @ home now), I think how much I'm looking forward to cars driving themselves. Yeesh. There's nothing worse than a human in the loop (even without a cell phone pressed tightly to their ear).

Posted by: Robert Goldman on August 4, 2003 06:17 AM

Oh c'mon.

Such horseshit.

They want the human out of the loop for a variety of reasons, but the primary one is that robots will not have a moral sense.

These are the weapons they will use on us, friends. Wake up while there is still time.

Restore the constitution and dissolve the unconstitutional, out of control military intelligence entities that pull the puppet strings.

Smash SKYNET! Power to the people!

John fix the fucking cut and paste buffer! What is this shit?

Posted by: Emmanuel Goldstein on August 4, 2003 11:19 AM

Well, if you define "tactical autonomous combatant" as "something that can destroy or kill without waiting for a human decision", then they've been around for a hundred years or so. They're called mines.

Posted by: Jeremy Leader on August 15, 2003 11:56 AM
Post a comment

Email Address:


Unless you answer this question, your comment will be classified as spam and will not be posted.
(I'll give you a hint: the answer is “lisp”.)


Remember info?