If an explosives robot becomes your friend, can you still send it off to die?

September 20, 2013 8:51 PM

24 0

If an explosives robot becomes your friend, can you still send it off to die?

Robots do not feel pain. They can roll fearlessly into a war zone, lose a leg from a land mine, or be destroyed and replaced in short order. But for the soldiers who handle them, it's sometimes hard to see one give up the ghost. Recent University of Washington doctoral student Julie Carpenter has studied human-computer interactions for years, and for her dissertation, she examined how the military's explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams bonded with the robots they used. And based on her results, she asked a question that may becoming increasingly important: if we start seeing robots as animals or even people, will they lose some of their usefulness as simple tools?

Over the course of interviews with 23 operators of the tiny tank-like robots, participants talked about them in ways that blurred the lines between a tool and an extension of oneself. One man, "Jeremy," imagined his ideal robot as "a full human avatar," saying that "it would be me with remote contro...

Read more

To category page

Loading...