back to article Fruitcake profs demand strict curbs on killer robots

Blighty's most famous automatamageddon media-Cassandra, Professor Noel Sharkey, has allied with like-minded profs around the world to issue yet another warning of the coming rise of killer robots. Noel Sharkey portrait. Credit: University of Sheffield, Noel Sharkey pages, 'Engagement with the Public' You thought the robots …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Dont worry,

    they are 3 laws safe

  2. frank ly

    Public debate is needed

    I'm waiting for them to have a reasoned debate with the International Committee for Robot Arms Proliferation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      "Rebuttal in



      "Alright! I'm sorry! I retract my statement and apologise unreservedly!"





  3. as2003


    In his list of credentials, you forgot to mention that he was one of the judges on the Robot Wars TV show. Probably the most pertinent item on his CV in fact!

    He's seen more brutal robot on robot action than anyone. (evidently this may have coloured his predictions somewhat).

  4. Richard 81


    Woo, the guy works two floors down from here. I've seen him being interviewed on the benches inside the quad at least once, which means I might have inadvertently ended up on TV at some point.

  5. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Heh! Funny

    These guys may be kind of fruitcaky, but you can't deny that killbots allowed to open fire without human supervision are a serious concern. Not that humans are unable to eradicate a whole city block because someone had a camera...

    "US drone bombardments in Afghanistan and Pakistan will cease (and be replaced no doubt by hugely bloodier and more destructive strikes from manned bombers)."

    Now you're just bein gsilly. Appart from the fact that drones don't take the decision to open fire by themselves -yet?-, right now the US get away with a few hundred civilian casualties only because public opinion think of drone raids as "surgical" and "clean". As surgical and clean as an appendectomy with a chainsaw if you ask me (no-one bothered yet. Asking me, I mean). But they probably wouldn't get away with levelling entire towns to get to a single individual.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    A Tie Toll

    "...such august bodies as the British Computer Society..."


  7. Hollerith 1

    All I hear

    bark bark bark bark bark bark

    Yes, all three are barking

  8. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    A good thing...

    ... now we have an excuse to lock up captain cyborg before he goes on a killing spree.

    Mine's a pint please, none of this caña stuff (beer in a shot glass).

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Umm, what?

    The right to male pregnancy?

    Does that ring a faint bell?

    Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me Loretta.

    Reg: What?

    Loretta: It's my right as a man.

    Judith: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?

    Loretta: I want to have babies.

    Reg: You want to have babies?!

    Loretta: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.

    Reg: can't have babies!

    Loretta: Don't you opress me!

    Reg: I'm not opressing you, Stan. You haven't got a womb. Where is the foetus going to gestate? You're going to keep it in a box?

    Loretta: Sniff.

    Judith: Here, I've got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans', but that he can have the right to have babies.

    Rogers: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister! Sorry.

    Reg: What's the point?

    Rogers: What?

    Reg: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he can't have babies?

    Rogers: It is symbolic of our struggle against opression.

    Reg: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.

    Trumpets: [Fanfares]

  10. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Nutty Professors

    I'd not seen this topic before.

    How come our own "special" capt. cyborg isn't listed under nutty Profs? I mean you have to remember that he was a nutty prof. before the assimilation started.

    I'll get me own coat; I don't want anyone nicking my 40W phased plasma rifle.

  11. Rippy
    Paris Hilton

    HR Violation

    This seems a little much from the rag that's been banging on about the Rise of the Machines since 2003 and coined the initialism "RoTM" in 2006.

    If I thought you were serious, I'd have you up before the European Court of Human Rights for hate speech: the fruitcake is one of the high points of British culinary art and really doesn't deserve the abuse its getting these days.


    Paris, because she's better looking than the other icons. Especially Prof. Sharkey.

  12. Elmer Phud

    Too late

    You program up meat-heads to shoot at things, send them out and anyone that points anything at them is removed as a potential threat.

    Oh, and are the boffins that are interested in the sex side more afraid of rejection?

  13. Visual Echo




  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Everyone's always in favour of saving Hitler's brain.

    But when you put it in the body of a marauding killer robot, ooohh!

    Suddenly you've gone too far!"

  15. Andrew Norris

    Missing Fruitcake!

    Where was Captain Cyborg? Surely Kevin Warwick would warrant an invite. Unless of course he was taking the killer robot's side....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is he...

    Only a Professor of Fruitcake or does he study other delicious cakes as well....

    1. Mostor Astrakan

      Cake is...

      Cake is science for hungry people!

  17. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Oh yeah?

    "Everyone acknowledged that these systems pose ethical and strategic problems especially with regard to their effect on civilian casualties and their rapid proliferation."

    If anyone has a problem with that statement, maybe he needs to have his head examined pronto.

    Currently whitey blows up and barbequeues sandniggers' kids, goats and wimmin's from Langley, USA using remote-presence tech (Illegally - and that's only US law, btw. But with a Peace Prize Laureate in the Driving Seat, nothing can go wrong, eh?)

    Any dumbfuck cretin who has been within a hundred miles of military-machine-empire of the West knows that the feedback loop will close ASAP and that "Ho, Ho, Ho it's just collateral damage. Shrug." pronouncements will only get worse.

  18. Crucial Decimal

    US drone bombardments...........

    "US drone bombardments in Afghanistan and Pakistan will cease (and be replaced no doubt by hugely bloodier and more destructive strikes from manned bombers)."

    sorry, can someone remind me why we're bombing these places at all???

    perhaps a better idea might be not to bomb people without good (some/any) cause..?

    or is not bombing completely unthinkable these days?

  19. Stevie


    Obviously, the way to go here is to deploy virused robotslut artificially intelligent partner surrogates to seduce our enemy's soldiers and sailors (reputedly always in the mood for a good time when in port) and strike at them by infecting them with IHEARTU.

  20. John Tserkezis

    Why is it,

    that when I read this title and story, the first thing that came to mind was the BOFH?

    And because of that, things can only possibly end badly...

  21. Jacques Kruger

    Of all the acronyms in the world...

    ICRAC - When it's 3 laws safe I never crack!


    IWEED was my gateway to join ICRAC


    If Apple designed a male mobile music player thong for plumbers would they sue for the registration of iCrac as a trade name?

  22. sebacoustic

    deja vu

    oh dear: i cut my theeth as a software developer with one on this list: "Peace physicist" Jürgen Altmann. He's not a crank, really, maybe eccentric at times. Can't be all bad! It was still the cold war, slowly de-frosting, in the early nineties, and we thought about technical means to identify military vehicles, with geophones and such. Brings back memories!

  23. Rob Crawford


    I think they left the k off the end

    or perhaps it should be iCRAP

    <sigh> kill them all (dear Public Prosecution service I of course mean kill all the killer robots that may be created and not the assholes being referred to in the article

  24. The Other Steve

    Is it just me ?

    Whenever I see this sort of thing :

    "Sharkey, who is professor of AI, Robotics and Public Engagement at Sheffield uni, has warned for at least the past ten years of the terrible dangers attendant on war robots"

    For him, Captain Cyborg and the rest of the merry crew, I wonder at the fact that the people who are warning us against the rise of the killer robots are the same people advancing* the fields required build and operate same.

    Stop it then, you fuckers! You'll surely kill us all!

    *in the loosest possible sense, in some cases, but still.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      FIDO attacks

      Yeah, but when the people "advancing" the field name their robots FIDO, you can rest assured that no harm will be done (apart from occasional fluff ingestation by robot vacuums)

  25. HRH Martin

    Lewis is frothing at the mouth. Still no cure for that? Oh dear...


    Dr Sparrow is not an expert in male pregnancy, because there is no such thing as male pregnancy - and for **** sake learn to read, and do your research!

    Still, a man giving birth - I'd pay to watch that, but only if Ridley Scott is the midwife.

    On a more important note, our community robot mutinied and refused to obey my command, "insufficient funds" my arse. Kill them all.

  26. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Now what they need is a sloganeer...

    Really, what political movement has any chance without some zero-content soundbite to rally the masses?

    With Sharkey and Asaro in attendance, they should start with the obvious "make love machine, not war machine".

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