Speaking of Nextgov, a featured article on the site this past week detailed a “Franken-army” technology that would fuse bio-lab grown flesh with AI-driven robotics.
Army Research Laboratory scientists are experimenting in using living muscle tissue to make otherwise relatively bulky androids more nimble and able to move like living creatures. “Biohybrid robotics” could eventually be used to create weaponry more dexterous and dangerous than even the best human soldiers.
“This is wholly new to the lab, and the field itself is still relatively young,” said Dr. Dean Culver, one of the research scientists. Culver says he first became interested in natural bionics while studying mechanical engineering at Duke University.
“After I graduated, one of the natural extensions of that is ‘Hey, how exactly do muscles work? How do organisms store energy and turn that into motion? And it turns out that we knew less about the answer to that question than I had originally anticipated. So, there are obvious applications of that in robotics, and the design of mechanisms and new vehicles, for the Army. That brings us to today—I’m still working on that problem.”
Culver said some of the aims of combining robots with organic musculature were to create “devices” that last a long time, are really resilient, quiet, and energy-efficient. He noted that current, typical army robotics designed to move and carry equipment over difficult terrain can’t compare with the efficiency of animals like wolves. Culver said,
“We look at a wolf in nature: It probably weighs about the same, can pull much more and can travel hundreds of miles without really eating, take a nap and do the same thing the next day… There’s a huge performance disparity between those two things. And if we can offer the ability for robots to go out on these long missions, based on these design principles that we can understand from observing nature—that’s a huge step forward.”
Predictably, scientists at the Army Research Laboratory appear to be unbound by any ethical or regulatory criteria in their pursuits of surreal AI-driven hybrids of robotics and flesh built – and grown – to surpass human capabilities to efficiently destroy.
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