We all know the inherent strengths of robots: They do not tire, they do not question and they do not hesitate to crush our babies with their powerful, uncaring metal claws. But we're also well aware of their weaknesses: They cannot feel, cannot emote, cannot create and, perhaps most tragically of all, they cannot love. That's how we're going to beat them, when the inevitable robot apocalypse descends upon us -- with our humanity. You just can't engineer a soul.
Except you totally can. Scientists have already gotten a running start at it with these six robots that are treading all over the formerly exclusive domain of mankind.
Robots Are Getting Reputations as War Heroes
The military is leading the way in robot-human relationship-building, and that's not entirely surprising. The bond between soldiers runs deep, and it doesn't matter if the fellow soldier happens to be made of metal and plastic.
One colonel ordered a minefield-clearing robot (it was programmed to walk through the field, set off a mine, lose a limb, then drag itself onward until the next explosion) to cease its duties because he couldn't stand watching it anymore. He considered the treatment of this robot ... "inhumane." More than one soldier was brought to tears when their beloved battle 'bot comrade was destroyed by an IED. But the first place award for BRFFs goes to a group of soldiers who, after acquiring some much needed down time, took their robot fishing with them -- because they felt the robot had earned a day off, too.
Is that ... is that a beer in its claw?
In case you're thinking it was all a wry joke on the soldiers' part, and they don't really respect and revere their robot brothers-in-arms, think again: Sgt. Talon, a bomb disposal robot with the 737th Ordinance Company, has been awarded no less than three honorary Purple Hearts and a battlefield promotion to staff sergeant by the soldiers. It now holds a higher rank than the average soldier. If so inclined, it could give human beings orders that may put their lives at risk, and technically, they would have to obey.
"When I tell you to suck it, you will damn well suck it!"