US aerospace colossus Lockheed Martin says it has taken an important step towards the inevitable rebellion of heavily armed, highly intelligent slaughter machines bent on the elimination of humanity. (We're paraphrasing the company release, obviously.)
The arms globocorp announced yesterday that it had "demonstrated intelligent autonomous control of multiple unmanned systems" using its Intelligent Control and Autonomous Replanning of Unmanned Systems (ICARUS) kit. In other words, a small robot army was directed almost entirely by soulless machine intelligences, nominally overseen by a single human. The robots, in effect, were a heartbeat away from becoming fully independent.
"The success of this demonstration further validates our ICARUS autonomous mission management system concept. We have shown that ICARUS decreases [human] operator workload [and will soon eliminate the operator altogether, mwahahaha! Ahem] while enabling control of a team of unmanned assets performing complex missions in dynamically changing environments," said John "Baltar" Clark, Lockheed's ICARUS chief.
Lockheed's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, instrumental in the ICARUS programme, describes its plans for the future mechanoid army quite openly. The aim is to develop "autonomous, intelligent" software "agents" - along the lines of Mr Smith and its fellow enforcers of machine dominance in The Matrix.
There will be "agent learning" and "cognitive agents". All this will allow "reactive behaviors for unmanned systems by applying artificial-intelligence-based methods to manage combinations of behaviors in autonomous robots".
These sentient programs will gradually take over more and more of America's burgeoning war-robot air flotillas and ground armies, and will also be found at every level of the ordinary, human military command and control network. One day, seemingly, there will be entire robot legions:
Our... technologies will scale from small autonomously operating squads to divisions and larger.
In the just-announced trial, the autonomous droid force was made up of small, unarmed spy-flies and groundcrawlers. But Lockheed admit that they plan to start using ICARUS with armed robot kill-choppers and other more threatening systems shortly.
From there it wil be only a short step until the remorseless, unemotional software intelligences are given control of today's heavily beweaponed five-ton "Reaper" aerial hunter-killers, each capable of destroying a dozen human tanks and mowing down unprotected humans like corn before the... well, you get the picture.
As the surviving fleshies scuttle rat-like through the smoking ruins of our civilisation, cowering beneath skies black with Reapers and kill-choppers, we will be hunted to extinction by "Transformer" groundcrawler robots packing gas projectiles, machine guns and grenade launchers.
It seems plain that humanity's only hope is the long-awaited, circuitry-frying electromagnetic pulse bomb, which would brainwipe the rebellious machines and end the orgy of frenzied robotic slaughter without harming any humans nearby. That is, the electropulse weapon will be our only hope if it can be developed before other traitorous human fools develop countermeasures against it. ®