SOURCE: Howard Smith

November 26, 2008 11:26 ET

Will Robots Replace U.S. Armed Forces?

TORONTO--(Marketwire - November 26, 2008) - Science fiction is becoming science fact: The robots are here.

More than 6,000 robots are already used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. While that can ultimately lead to less human risk for U.S. troops on the battlefield, can the threat of armed robots be used against us by terrorists?

Howard S. Smith, author of the new book "I, robot" (Robot Binaries & Press www.robotpress.net), is an MIT-trained engineer and artificial intelligence expert. His techno thriller is a modern update to the original "I, Robot" book written in the 1940s. Smith says while robotics can have innocuous applications, such as the supermarket self-checkout machines he helped create, the focus today is on developing new weapons and tools for the military.

"Hundreds of billions of dollars are going into military applications, with virtually no money for consumer applications," says Smith. "And, don't expect those Hollywood-created versions of robotic soldiers. The robots you've seen in movies aren't necessarily what the military's creating."

The military currently uses Predator aircraft drones and bomb-defusing robots; both of which have saved countless lives of U.S. troops. While improvements over military weapons of yesteryear, these robots still require a human at the controls. But the latest advancements in military robotics and artificial intelligence are aimed at removing the human factor from the decision making, creating weapons that will ultimately 'decide' whether to fire weapons. And that dramatically raises the stakes for the military and for civilians.

"As we become more accustomed to these robots, we will ultimately give them more control," says Smith. "Our leaders must make smart, ethical decisions about these 'thinking' weapons. It's not a vision of a far-flung future. They are here now, on the battlefield, and these machines will change our world."

About Howard S. Smith

Howard S. Smith has a degree in Biomedical engineering from MIT. He was the founder and president of Optimal Robotics, which patented, designed, built, and installed the supermarket self-checkout machines, which were originally called "service robots." Smith currently offers consulting services in the area of robotics and artificial intelligence through Robot Binaries & Press Corp. www.robotpress.net

To interview Howard Smith or request a review copy of "I, robot" contact Rachel Friedman at (727) 443-7115 ext. 206 or Rachel@NewsAndExperts.com Please include your name, publication, and mailing address with request.

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