Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Minds controlling cursors today...and bots tomorrow

Technology is getting pretty wild.  Put these two blog entries together and you’ve got something off the sci-fi channel.  First is the Army’s attempt to field armed robotic vehicles in Iraq in the first quarter of 2005.  The Talon robot will come in three flavors, evidently.  The first is armed with a machine gun, the other with a automatic grenade launcher and the third with a rocket launcher of some sort.  They’re remotely controlled by a briefcase sized control pack by a soldier in the field.  This is interesting all by itself, but add the next article.

We read today about great advances in the development of the brain-computer interface.  Scientists have successfully demonstrated a non-surgical interface that allows people to manipulate a cursor on a monitor.  This will be a great boon to the handicapped who want to have greater freedom over their environments.  Of course, what man builds to help and heal can also be used to hurt and harm.  Obviously, we can foresee the military matching this sort of brain-bot interface to predator drones and bots like the “Talon.”  Personally, I have no problem with this.  I think our growing capacity to keep our troops out of harms way while inflicting casualties on the enemy will be so demoralizing that lives will ultimately be saved in the long-term. 

But this is always the challenge of technology and faith.  The development of our technology is always far beyond the development of our characters.  I think it’s pretty easy to become a nation of minds and cease being a nation of souls. 

Speaking of characters, bots and brains, you have to check out Toyoto’s latest developments for the “mobility impaired.”  Weird.


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