Entertainment And News

Robotic Dogs Are Now Being Given Assault Rifles — And May Be Used By The Military Soon

Photo: Instagram
Military robot dogs with and without guns

If you’ve ever seen Black Mirror, then this announcement will surely give you chills.

The Association of the U.S. Army's main annual convention in Washington, D.C. is happening this week and is where the company Ghost Robotics unveiled their new creation — armed robotic dogs.

Military robot dogs with guns are sparking outrage online. 

Ghost Robotics is a robotics company that was formally founded in 2015 with the mission to create “robots that feel the world.”

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According to their LinkedIn, their robots are “unstoppable, agile and all-weather autonomous 4-leg robots offering superior operability over wheeled and tracked devices on unstructured terrain in rough and demanding environments.”

The company has been partnered with dozens of companies that deal in homeland security or defense, but this is the first time they’ve attached a gun to one of their robots and not just cameras.

The robot’s name is SPUR, which stands for “Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle.” 

In an Instagram post made by SWORD International — the company that created the sniper rifle that was attached — they said that that dog was designed for “Keeping our #SOF teams armed with the latest lethality innovation.”

That Instagram post and the Tweet made by Ghost Robotics both tagged the United States Special Operations Command as well as the Association of the US Army.

While they haven’t explicitly stated the US Army has not officially disclosed if they are using the armed dogs, Ghost Robotics dogs have previously been used to protect Air Force bases in Florida. 

Many are unhappy with the robot dogs, pointing out safety concerns. 

One of the top replies to the tweet sees through the glossy exterior of the announcement.

“You've done some fancy stepping to avoid saying the quiet part out loud. Let me do it for you," they write. “We created a soulless piece of hardware for brutal population suppression when the billionaires finally fear for their ill-gotten gains.”

Similarly, another Twitter user commented that there are much bigger problems in the US than figuring out how to strap a sniper rifle onto a robot dog.

“Probably just give us healthcare instead of killer robots,” they tweeted, but other people saw a much bigger issue — it’s an unmanned robot dog with a lethal weapon attached to it.

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“So y’all saw 2 blade runners,” another user tweeted, “a Westworld show and movie, 10 Terminator movies 2 Battlestar Galactica shows, iRobot and still thought this was a good idea.”

The fear of artificial intelligence and robots taking over is becoming more and more real in the minds of people who have the common sense to recognize that this is a bad idea.

The dogs from that Black Mirror episode almost looked just like this, and we all know how that went.

In reality, SPUR will likely only see the light of day on the battlefield, but that doesn’t mean that the normalization of these dogs isn’t imminent.

Last year in December, the New York Police department made a $96,000 contract with Boston Dynamics to trial a “Spot robot” for law enforcement — don’t worry there was no gun involved.

Due to public outcry, the NYPD quickly canceled its contract with the robotics company and ceased its desire for robot dog cops.

However, with these new developments in the US Army, it isn’t unlikely that they might revisit the option.

On their website, SWORD said “the [SPUR] was specifically designed to offer precision fire from unmanned platforms such as the Ghost Robotics Vision-60 quadruped. Due to its highly capable sensors, the SPUR can operate in a magnitude of conditions, both day and night.”

Little has been actually revealed about the specifications of the army dog aside from the mounted gun and all of that.

We don’t know whether or not the dog will feature artificial intelligence or if it will be manned like a drone from far away, but what we do know is that it’s a terrifying look into our dystopian future.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.