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The Military United States Science Technology

DARPA Researches Avatar Surrogates 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the presumably-with-more-clothing dept.
kgeiger writes "Feeling blue? DARPA is funding a program to investigate the feasibility of battlefield cyborg-surrogates: 'In its 2012 budget, DARPA has decided to pour US $7 million into the 'Avatar Project,' whose goal is the following: "develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier's surrogate."' Power and bandwidth constraints aside, what could go wrong? Chinese hackers swooping in and commandeering one's army?"
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DARPA Researches Avatar Surrogates

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  • by dj245 (732906) on Friday February 17, 2012 @02:30PM (#39077909) Homepage
    The government doesn't pour $7 million. They dish it out with an eyedropper.

    Not that $7 million isn't a lot of money for you and me, but for the US government it is a rounding error.
  • by slartibartfastatp (613727) on Friday February 17, 2012 @02:46PM (#39078139) Journal
    The movie "Avatar" costed half a billion dollars - 7 millions seems too low a budget to make it real.
  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:09PM (#39078421)
    I was on the fence about Obama, but watching the Republican side show and sealed the deal for me. You guys are fucking nuts.
  • by Whatanut (203397) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:10PM (#39078431)

    If they continue down this path they will mostly just turn war into a big video game. All the real people will be locked up in a bunker somewhere controlling their avatars and such.

    So, then the question becomes this: Why not just settle disputes by actually playing video games. You lose at starcraft, you lose your country. Seems like the natural progression...

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:42PM (#39078895)

    Why is this disparity between research and entertainment true????

    How is making a movie and R&D'ing a technology Apples to Apples enough for this to be worthy of so many question marks?

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday February 17, 2012 @04:26PM (#39079483) Journal
    "I think the puppet on the left shares my beliefs, i think the puppet on the right is more to my liking...hey wait a minute there's one guy controlling BOTH puppets!" from the late great often stolen from Bill Hicks [youtube.com]. Sad the man has been gone more than 20 years and if anything his words are MORE true than they have ever been. But if you think Nobama or Mittens or Santwhorum give a flying fuck about anybody but themselves and their corporate masters you've drank too much koolaid.
  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Friday February 17, 2012 @08:44PM (#39081837)

    You're assuming that the nature and meaning of "war" wouldn't undergo a fundamental shift if people weren't dying during it.

    Lots of things are, essentially, "war" where people don't die. Apple and Samsung are engaged in a "war" against each other - they're both hoping to take something from the other by coercion, even if that isn't physical coercion.

    Being able to "wage war" where stuff, rather than people, die would be huge. I'd much rather throw away stuff than people any day.

    Also, I dispute entirely your belief that somehow we have a more profound appreciation for things that people have died for. In fact, I dare say that the fact that when people die in wars and other people use it for cheap political theater shows just how shallow the "appreciation" is.

    Look, for example, at the whole "support our troops" thing as it happened with Iraq and Afghanistan: Some people used the deaths of troops to support a kind of "sunk cost" fallacy about dead soldiers, other people used it to say that their political opponents were politically bankrupt, other people used it as a club to beat up those they felt weren't appropriately patriotic, others used it to profit from selling shitty yellow ribbon magnets and Chinese-made American flags, and on and on.

    Yet, when it comes to doing things that *actually* matter - taking care of injured veterans and helping their families - it's just *crickets* *crickets* when these men and women come home and need some help because of what they've left "over there." Veterans make up a disproportionate number of homeless - I dare say that if we had a "more profound appreciation" for the sacrifices made in war that wouldn't be the case because we wouldn't, as a society *let* it be the case.

How many Bavarian Illuminati does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Three: one to screw it in, and one to confuse the issue.

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