You know what Russia absolutely doesn't need? An army of autonomous robot soldiers. Yet, the Kremlin is confirming that they do want lethal robots, at the same time the United Nations is holding conference to figure out how to ban these machines.
Dmitry Rogozin (the same Russian official who believes the US should get to space via trampoline) has said that Russia has an interest in having lethal robots and is researching their options. Rogozin said the robots do not have to be giant, nor anthropomorphic, just lethal. In a 2006 press conference, President Vladimir Putin skirted around questions of whether Russia planned to use "giant anthropomorphic battle robots on its borders." Rogozin statements confirm they certainly have a stake in the military robot future.
Thus far, little is known about the state of Russia's military robots. In an interview Rogozin gave to the Rossiiskaya Gazeta (which is a government-operated newspaper) this past March, he said "Projects in development include a remote-controlled android with driving and shooting skills" and a system which is capable of "delivering strikes on its own."
The Moscow Times spoke with Alexander Khramchikhin, a member of the Moscow Institute for Political and Military Analysis. Khramchikhin would not divulge much information, but he could confirm that fully autonomous weapons would help define the future. He could not provide a time frame, but reports that "Russian prototypes may already be rolling around the Russian DARPA's closed testing grounds."
On the bright side, Russia did attend the United Nations conference on killer robots ("LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPON SYSTEMS") this week, so it seems they would at least like to be fully educated on the matter before they build their army (and violate the goals of the conference they attended.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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