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The battle of killer robots

The battle of killer robots


In the midst of humanoid robots gifted with speech and future flying cars, remote-controlled craft machines confront each other in a glass cage…the Vivatech startup show organised its first robot fight on Saturday in Paris.

The remote-controlled machines are equipped with handmade weapons, such as circular hammers, manufactured by the participants.

Participating teams had 36 hours to build their killer robots with cheap drill motors, a mini electronic integrated circuit and recovery equipment.

“My strategy is to have two blades, so here, running on one engine. It’s supposed to be as violent as possible, clearly! And we’ll have a small engine like that spinning in the front row. So as soon as there’s someone out front, well… it’s gonna spurt. It’s gonna be violent”, said engineering student, Elisse Dessout.

The killer robots were made at Techni stub, a participatory workshop where tech enthusiasts can get together to make objects, repair machines, in a spirit of mutual aid.

Stephane Laborde is President of Techni-stub.

“Robot fighting as such is not an end in itself — destroying a robot you’ve spent a day making isn’t necessarily useful. But to make this robot we’re going to have an electronic assembly. We’re gonna have to tweak a program. We’ll put together a whole mechanical part and et cetera. So we’re gonna have learned some things. And in doing so, we’ll get a taste for it — at least we’re encouraging it”, he said.

A few weeks ago the UN relaunched discussions on “killer robots”. A Korean college was even boycotted last April for developing autonomous weapons using artificial intelligence.

The prospect of having autonomous weapons capable of choosing their targets, and having to take part in wars in the near future is frightening to many.


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