Saturday, October 31, 2009


"What happens when science fiction becomes battlefield reality ?"

C'est toute la question que pose cet excellent livre qu'est "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century" écrit par Peter Warren Singer.

En deux mots, le contexte c'est cela : "An amazing revolution is taking place on the battlefield, starting to change not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself. This upheaval is already a foot - remote - controlled drones take out terrorists in Afghanistan, while the number of unmanned systems on the ground in Iraq has gone from zero to 12,000 over the last five years. But it is only the start. Military officers quietly acknowledge that new prototypes will soon make human fighter pilots obsolete, while the Pentagon researches tiny robots the size of flies to carry out reconnaissance work now handled by elite Special Forces troops."

Et en voici un large extrait sur les robots.

"Between 2002 and 2008, the U.S. defense budget rose by 74 percent to $515 billion, not including the several hundred billions more spent on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. With the defense budget at its highest level in real terms since 1946 (though it is still far lower as a percentage of gross domestic product), spending on military robotics research and development and subsequent procurement has boomed. The amount spent on ground robots, for example, has roughly doubled each year since 2001. “Make ’em as fast as you can” is what one robotics executive says he was told by his Pentagon buyers after 9/11.

The result is that a significant military robotics industry is beginning to emerge. The World War I parallel is again instructive. As a report by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) noted, only 239 Ford Model T cars were sold in 1908. Ten years later, more than a million were.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of robots to the Pentagon. Above all, they save lives. But they also don’t come with some of our human frailties and foibles. “They don’t get hungry,” says Gordon Johnson of the Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command. “They’re not afraid. They don’t forget their orders. They don’t care if the guy next to them has just been shot. Will they do a better job than humans? Yes.”

Robots are particularly attractive for roles dealing with what people in the field call the “Three D’s”—tasks that are dull, dirty, or dangerous. Many military missions can be incredibly boring as well as physically taxing. Humans doing work that requires intense concentration need to take frequent breaks, for example, but robots do not. Using the same mine detection gear as a human, today’s robots can do the same task in about a fifth the time and with greater accuracy

Pour en savoir plus, voir et surtout regarder les très impressionnantes vidéos . On est parfois pas très loin de HALO et Battlefield 2042.

Et pour encore mieux comprendre comment la Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) travaille sur les conflits de demain, voir son plan stratégique 2009 qui est téléchargeable . C'est une vraie mine d'informations sur nos futurs possibles.

Vous pouvez aussi jeter un coup d'oeil sur le rapport Opportunities in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications réalisé par l'US National Academies of Science.

Enfin, ce post ne serait pas complet si je ne vous renvoyais pas sur Quand Tsahal s'apprête à crédibiliser Blade Runner ...