Blastfurnace Radio / TV

CMU/Military Robot: The world doesn’t need more instruments of war


[letters to the editor: Pittsburgh Post Gazette March 13th ]

I am writing in response to the March 3 article “CMU’s Robotic Juggernaut Shows Off Its Stuff.”

The cheerleading description by the PG was reminiscent of coverage of a demolition derby, with the “Crusher” presented like some monster car from an action thriller. From “titanic abilities” to “Rambo on wheels,” this was an unashamed journalistic apology for the wars of the future.

One only has to look to the past to question the insanity of spending billions on robots for future wars. When I was in high school we pondered those who would never come back from war, or worse, who would return with half a body and mind. Who would stand up 40 years later and say that was worth the cost?

By the war’s end we had lost more than 58,000 soldiers and killed 2.2 million Vietnamese. After the war, another 38,000 were killed by unexploded bombs and land mines.

It is not idealism or naivete to imagine that something besides a monster that eats hard, cold cash must be created to keep our world out of harm’s way. Research is required, but not in the area of killer robots.

Research is urgently needed to lead us out of our present economic depression, environmental disasters and in the much-needed area of medicine, rather than designing machines that ape humankind’s most violent fantasies.