Looking into the future: Robotic dogs?

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but, ‘That’s funny’.” –Isaac Asimov

Expenditures in United States defense and healthcare make up just under 50 percent of total federal spending. It’s no surprise then that robotic surgery and robotic warfare have been at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. Earth may be closer than you think to becoming a place where robots play an integral roll in everyday life: caring for the elderly, walking dogs, driving humans to work. In fact, the United States Air Force already uses aerial vehicles such as the Predator drone. These unmanned robots have taken out important Al-Qaeda operatives and led air strikes in Libya. The importance of these drones is that they are in-fact unmanned; creating an element of surprise, reducing US casualties, and reducing the frequent detrimental effects of exposure to warfare (PTSD).

This past week, a video surfaced of an enormous dog-like robot climbing over various obstacles. Taking notes from the exceptional anatomy of our furry companions, engineers at Boston Dynamic released

” target=”_blank”>this video of their newest ground warfare prototype, the “AlphaDog”. Videos like this make me imagine robotic dogs with machine guns attached to their backs and razor sharp claws on their paws running after bad guys (although that’s still science fiction – for now). Though it will be deployed to aid American soldiers, its role will be like that of a pack mule. With the ability to go anywhere a soldier or dog can on foot, the “AlphaDog” can carry up to 400 pounds of gear and cover 20 miles without refueling, It can climb up elevated slopes, pick itself up if knocked over, and recognize the perfect foothold to step into while climbing over rough terrain. Deployment could be seen as early as 2012, taking a huge load of army’s back.

Four legged creatures are important for the United States military. They are able to withstand extreme hot or cold weather, get to places that soldiers cannot, and in general be frighteningly awesome. What the future holds for dogs in modern warfare is uncertain, but it looks like animals of all species will begin to see less combat. Will trends in robotic warfare translate to domestic labor in the United States? Will we have robotic airport security and drug sniffing robots? These are questions we may have answers to soon.

Baby Frenchie Reacts Adorably When Dad Says He Looks Handsome in His New Bandana: Click “Next” below!

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