Will Robots Replace Troops in Afghanistan?

wall-eWALL-E has enlisted. Since his movie career had slowed down a bit, WALL-E was spending time opening boxes and planting trees. EVE, wanting her man to be a bit more productive, encouraged her husband to give back.

So WALL-E, along with 2,000 of his twin brothers, joined the army. They are fighting alongside human soldiers in Afghanistan.

It's true. For every 50 human soldiers in Afghanistan, there is one robot. The bots specialize in explosive disposal, surveillance, and looking darn adorable. Are they poised to replace human soldiers?


The robots are in high-demand, says bot specialist Marine Corps Lt. Col. Dave Thompson. While many assume that they're just used for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams, robots are being used more and more to check vehicles at check-points and are great roadside bomb detectors.

These bots aren't autonomous and need a human to make every move and decision for them, but they do save lives. It's not like they're Terminators destroying the enemy and forcing drivers out of truck cabs with a forceful: "Get out." Then melting them with their eyes.

No. These guys are a little simpler. They detect bombs by getting blown up, which saves a human from performing the same lethal task.

Robots won't be replacing humans anytime soon, but the technology is improving so that one day, far far away, they might. There's no prediction on when self-thinking bots will be available, but for now, there is still a great need for the simple ones who take instruction well.

When asked for comment on his time spent in the war-zone, WALL-E simply said, "Dirrrreecccctive? Tah dah! EVE. WALL-EEEE."

See, not that smart. Cute, helpful, selfless, and tireless, but not smart.

Here's a photo of an actual ground bot used in the US Army.












What do you think of the robot soldiers?

From top to bottom, photos via meddygarnet/Flickr and Ralph Orlowaski/Getty

Read More >