Now for something very different:
You have probably been hearing about some of the new robots for doing house work being produced by iRobot. They now inhabit the noosphere thanks to Thorn Stevens at Robot Stock News . I have been following iROBOT for awhile and recently heard an interview on NPR with Helen Greiner, one of the founders of iROBOT.
The interview focused on what her company was doing and I found her to be very level headed about what robots can and cannot do and the directions her company is taking in the area of search and rescue type robots as well as the more familiar household robots. So check out Thorn's blog. Thorn covers other robotics companies as well. For instance here is his coverage of a South Korean effort to produce inexpensive household robots by farming out a lot of the processing to a cheap central server. So if you are a capitalist geek (that's geek not pig) his blog is definitely worth a look.
By the way if iRobot or any other company wants to test household robots under real battle conditions, just contact me.
In the interest of full disclosure I was impressed enough to by a small stake in iROBOT. Mind you a small stake...the stock like lots of other small caps is pretty volatile right now, so don't take what I did as being a hot stock tip.
Do I have ethical issues using robots in warfare?You bet. Do I worry about unintended consequences of robotics? You bet. But the technology is coming and one should not bury one's head in the sand over what bad things a technology could be used for.