Military man-eating robots soon to be let loose?
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Web users managed to convince the world that a corpse-eating robot was about to be let loose last week after a robotics company announced the release of an android that was fuelled by biomass. Infuriated by the outrageous embellishment, the company released a sarcastic press release, maintaining that "This robot is strictly vegetarian". Read more...
Image taken from the Cyberpunk Review: "Hungry, Hungry Robots".
Web users managed to convince the world that a corpse-eating robot was about to be let loose last week after a robotics company announced the release of an android that was fuelled by biomass. Infuriated by the outrageous embellishment, the company released a sarcastic press release, maintaining that "This robot is strictly vegetarian".
Calling the robot the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot or "EATR" for short, was perhaps not the best idea. But creators Robotic Technology - which supplies the US Army - certainly didn't expect the online hullabaloo that took place after releasing news of their self-feeding robot on July 7. It was the following paragraph that seems to have been taken out of proportion:
"The system obtains its energy by foraging - engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating. It can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources)."
Nine days later and following dozens of headlines such as "Corpse-eating robot" (Wired), "Robot... to eat all life on Earth" (The Register), and "Sniper Bot Refuels by consuming human bodies" (OhGizmo!), the company was forced to release another statement in response to "Rumors about ‘Flesh Eating' Military robot":
"Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. and Robotic Technology Inc. would like to set the record straight: This robot is strictly vegetarian.(...) The Public can be assured that (...) the Eatr runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips. (...) Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions."
Online reactions to the EATR concept
The Cyberpunk Review posted this image and the one above, along with this comment: "It's not hard to imagine a pack of hungry, hungry robots being let loose in a densely populated area like a big city or a Midwest farm where their appetites can cause a major catastrophe, unless you program them to not eat certain targets. They can also be used in ‘clean-up' work such as clearing brush to prevent or control forest fires, cleaning up landfills, or even the recent turmoil in Gaza...."
The "OhGizmo!" blog dismissed the idea that the robot would eat plants: "Let's be honest, (...) these sons of b*****s are going to be eating bodies all day long (...) Seriously, it's not enough to create simple sniper-bots, you have to make some that actively crave flesh?"