The Pentagon has a new toy in its quest to further dehumanize warfare and bring humanity one step closer to robotic extinction: The EATR.
The concept is pretty simple. The Energetically Autonomous Tactcial Robot will “perform long range, long endurance missions without the need for conventional refueling.” The EATR won’t need to refuel thanks to its ability to harvest its own fuel, BY EATING. It can use conventional fuels when they’re available, but the EATR can also “find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment and other organically based energy sources.” Skeptics will quickly shout science fiction on this one, but much like the PHASR, the EATR is not only real, but begging to be fast tracked into production, since DARPA is ready to match hungry investors dollar for dollar.
The EATR platform has endless possibilties, from surveilence to transport to “robotic swarms and cognitive collectives.”
Oh, and we could probably mount a whole fuckload of guns to it.
There are so few times I end up on the same page as the folks at Fox News. Originally, Fox posted a story about the EATR and suggested that it could feed on dead bodies, since warzones are usually filled with them and they are made up of organic material. Unfortunately, Fox pulled the original article so I can’t read it, but the corrected version (and other news stories) states that the EATR is strictly “vegetarian” feeding on things like plant matter and wood chips. The PDF presentation even includes multiple pictures of a happy herbavoric Rhino munching on plants to drive the point home.
Cyclone Power Technologies Inc assured the public that the EATR will be able to distinguish between vegatative mass and other materials, with a cybernetics expert backing them up saying “If it’s not on the menu, it’s not going to eat it.” They also quickly reminded us that the Geneva conventions clearly states that desecration of the dead is a war crime. Of course, I’m sure that certain US lawyers will be able to figure out a legal justification around that one.
CEO of Cyclone Power Technologies Harry Schoell attempted to calm the public’s fear of people eating robots by saying “We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission. We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous.” Clearly, Harry never paid much attention to science fiction, because I’m sure that’s the same thing the team who invented Skynet said just before it became self aware and nuked the population.
Once again, welcome to the future!