back to article DARPA killer AI robots to 'participate in own construction'

You've got your robots which can make copies of themselves, of course. That's pretty scary - a runaway exponentially-multiplying machine horde, potentially able to overrun the human race in an eyeblink. But how much more scary would it be if you had a machine which could not only make copies of itself once complete, but could …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think you meant "fleshling"....

  2. Paul

    So basically...

    .... They want a human with more armour and guns

  3. Des
    Dead Vulture

    Judgement Day

    John Connor: No, you shouldn't exist. We took out Cyberdyne over ten years ago. We stopped Judgment Day.

    Terminator: You only postponed it. Judgment Day is inevitable.

  4. DutchOven

    Please, please, please

    ...can some Eastern European hackers get access to this and get it to redesign itself so that it says "Hasta La Vista" and travels back from a post-apocalyptic future...

    In fact, no, please don't. Destroy it now before it destroys us!

  5. Jonothan Harbourne


    You're all doomed, doomed I tell you

    Mines the one with the Alsatian puppy in the pocket

  6. adnim

    All well and good,

    especially if employed/deployed to benefit humanity as a whole (yes, I know I'm dreaming) but please, please do not let these machines ever program themselves.

  7. Stevie



  8. Ben Rosenthal

    Woo Hoo, bring on the robot apocalypse!

    "As you say Master. Would you prefer me to call you something else? Perhaps liquidous fleshbag?"

    mines the one with the phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.

  9. Adam Salisbury

    And I was worried about the LHC!

    Just when you thought the whitecoats had completely lost it at the point they're considering creating mini black-holes to find particles that might not even exist because "they'll give us the answers to everything!", someone's actually trying to develop the tech that's going to invetibly kill us all!!!

    Well at least we needn't worry about climate change, terrorism etc etc just Gov sponsored, runaway boffins who must be more than a few disks short of an array. If ever there were more worthy candidates for a good old fashioned nuke strike they're top of my list.....once I've looted the place of course!!!

    Mine's the one with Conspiracy Theorist Weekly in the pocket

  10. Dr. Mouse

    I for one...

    ...welcome our heavily armoured, self-replicating-like-bunnies overloards.

    Well noone had posted it yet. What happens when they find that increasing their polulation is as much fun as "mount an immediate armoured assault on Beijing, regardless of nuclear response"?

    PS The prospect of the software unilaterally "trying to perform those tasks to verify functionality" scares me too.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Why don't they just change the title?

    Any bets on this programmes' unofficial name?




    Mines is the one with the slightly weather-damaged poster of Kristian Loken in the pocket.

  12. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    The reason

    Darpa exists is to employ the mad scientists who in any other reality would build world destorying weapons in their basement before they either

    A. Set them off to see what would happen, or

    B. Sell them to an evil meglomaniac so he can threaten to the destroy the world

    PS I'm now stocking my bunker with grenade launchers, M16's, several 1000 rounds of ammo and a minigun

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    self replicating robots?

    I hope they keep that thing in a box...

  14. WhatWasThat?

    @Replicating Bunny Bots

    I think that about sums it up, doesn't it? If part of its program is to build more like it, and it hits that bit on the checklist as its building itself... then it has to stop building itself to build more like it, and it hits that bit.... uh oh.

    And why are we surrounded by bits of solenoid and wire humping each other?!

  15. Shagbert
    Thumb Up

    Meatsack / Meatbag

    ..Someone's been playing KOTOR!

  16. pctechxp

    Eagle Eye

    Watch that film, it gives a terrifying preview of what will happen when the machines rule.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WHAT?! No mention of SkyNet

    WHAT?! No mention of SkyNet. Think of unwarned masses who would not get it if that keyword was not in there, or the mass revenue that you could generate in linking that word to the new Terminator Salvation movie.

  18. Paul George

    Self construction

    At the risk of not being in on the spirit of the thing, self construction is very close to self repair, which is probably what they are after.

    After all, what good are they if they _stay_ smashed by fleshlings?

  19. Graham Marsden

    Let's give them friendly names...

    ... look, this one can build stuff and on his front it says "Call me Kenneth"!

    (Link for those who don't remember their old Dredd stories...)

  20. Alan Esworthy

    A title is required.

    I'd be even more worried if its tasks included "destroy all moving objects within 100 miles not designated as 'frienldy'". Never underestimate the power of a typo in the wrong place.

    @Dr. Mouse" Shirley you aren't saying they should go f*ck themselves?! But if so, I wanna watch.

  21. Argus Tuft
    Paris Hilton

    whats the problem?

    just turn off the power point and they're helpless (unless they decide to enslave us all as meat powered battery banks)

    Paris because she knows how to use a battery..

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    > DARPA seeks to construct systems that can participate in their own construction...

    > The system might know the requirements for various tasks in its repertoire, and

    > it may try to perform those tasks to verify functionality.

    Translation: We're still virgins, please send funds for hookers ;)

    Oh and for the tinfoil hat brigade; anyone notice that the ABL was due to be tested soon, and that a *French* airliner has vanished near the USA? Hmmm.

  23. Steve Roper

    Self-Explanation Learning Framework (SELF)

    Now that's a recursive acronym worth the name! After the desperately-contrived GNU's Not Unix, PHP Hypertext Preprocessor, and WINE Is Not an Emulator, we finally see a recursive acronym whose first word is a real word that is actually relevant to the title, not one that was contrived for the sake of creating a recursive acronym. Kudos to the boffin who came up with that one!

  24. John Smith Gold badge

    A bit behind the curve

    NASA have been running programs for decades with the idea of either optimising an existing structural design or having software generate a structural design to meet specified loads. AFAIK the idea was to (at least partly) to sidestep FEA and break a design automatically into sections then apply an optimisation algorith to each section, then re-combine the lot. Hardware's got a lot better since they started this. A UK company uses a similar approach to design turbine components. Instead of desgin part, study flow, tweak its a case of specifiy loads, program design blades to meet them. Lucien A Schmidt seems to be the main mover at NASA on this.

    Mines the one with Structural Analysis for Dummies in it.

  25. Dan


    "It might also be rather difficult to stop the process of building the SELF, once it had advanced beyond a certain point. Frankly the only way to be sure it can be stopped would seem to be to stop it now."

    I say we take off, nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

    Oh, hang on, wrong film...

  26. Spider

    Alert status

    Surely this should have caused the NRA to go to DEFCON WOPR?

  27. goggyturk

    @ "Lightbulb" Ben

    "mines the one with the phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range."

    I've got one of those at home too - except I call it a torch ;)

    Admit it - it's a lightbulb taped to a stick, isn't it?

  28. Anonymous Coward


    I will be going to see Terminator Salvation on tips on how to survive our future mechanical overlords...

    Now where's John Connor to stop this nonsense?!?

  29. Peter Denyer

    a BOLO in the making?

    Perhaps Keith Laumer was being prophetic when he wrote about the self aware battle tanks he named Bolo's - and if you're not up on the subject , Google "bolo battle tank". Fortunately in Laumer's universe Bolo's almost never ran amuck!

  30. bo bobo
    Thumb Up

    GO US

    Cool, if the US doesn't lead in robotics tech, then somebody else will to Americans disadvantage. Bill Gates is quoted comparing the robotics industry to what computers were in the 1980's. Still in its infancy but destined to revolutionize the world. Japan led the world in robotics up until the Iraq war, which consequently, (Bush's only good descision but by accident) has spawned a vibrant robotics industry in the US. Like I said, these assholes that think they're making a difference by delaying US technological advances are digging their own graves because if America doesn't develope it, then you still have billions of Asians with no moral hang-ups ready to take the mantel. Then all Americans lose. Thanks fuckers.

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