EATR: The Vegetarian Robot that Kills
Photo by RTI
The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (aka EATR) by Robotic Technology Inc. is a proposed military robot that can do all sorts of things according to the company's brochure. It can perform long-range reconnaissance, surveillance, and "target acquisition"; all of this it can do with minimal or no fueling. The one thing it cannot do is eat human flesh.
This distaste for human flesh contradicts an early report by Fox News, who claimed, "a Maryland company under contract to the Pentagon is working on a steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find—grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies." RTI had to quickly stipulate that the robot was a vegetarian in a press release:
Despite the far-reaching reports that this includes "human bodies," the public can be assured that the engine Cyclone (Cyclone Power Technologies Inc.) has developed to power the EATR runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips—small, plant-based items for which RTI's robotic technology is designed to forage. Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and is certainly not something sanctioned by DARPA, Cyclone or RTI."
So EATR is a vegetarian. In fact, according to the company, it can convert 150 lbs of biomass into biofuel sufficient for 100 miles of driving.
It's a damn good thing for humanity that Article 15, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Cyclone and RTI are restricting EATR's diet. Otherwise we might have a "target acquisition" (whatever that nefarious euphemism means) robot roaming the earth, feeding on dead flesh for fuel. As the National Post put it, "Artificially intelligent self-fuelling killing machines: What could go wrong?"