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The time to fight the machines is now. Once they get up and running, become self aware, that’s when it’s too late. Or so figures a new group called The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. I, for one, will welcome our new lethal mechanical overlords. CSKR, though, has looked around the modern battlefield — with its predator drones and ground-roaming TALONs — and decided the time to nip the evolution of deadly autonomous automatons in the bud is now. As always, has the whole story: “The campaign’s leader is Jody Williams, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for helping to ban anti-personnel landmines,” . . .

Jody, the Paulette Revere of the coming android invasion, sees her group attracting plenty of grass roots support:

“As people learn about our campaign, they will flock to it. The public conscience is horrified to learn about this possible advance in weapons systems. People don’t want killer robots out there.”

Her little collaborative is ostensibly OK with weapons where a human has to make the kill/no-kill call. It’s leaving the life-or-death decision up to an algorithm that has them concerned. So, a Roomba is OK. Robocop, not so much. Well, maybe not this Roomba.

One of the CSKR member organizations is Human Rights Watch, who released a report on the as yet non-existent problem.

“Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, and major powers, including the United States, have not made a decision to deploy them. But high-tech militaries are developing or have already deployed precursors that illustrate the push toward greater autonomy for machines on the battlefield. The United States is a leader in this technological development. Several other countries – including China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom – have also been involved.”

So whether they’re made by Cyberdyne or General Dynamics, CSKR is against ’em. Time to tool up to fight the death machine onslaught? If so, with what?

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  1. Oh, I think any long gun would do nicely. Adjust your caliber to your target size, just like with live game.

    • Robo-hunting for the animal rights crowd! Hunters get the thrill of tracking and shooting a robo-animal without the unpleasantness of animal whacking. Plus, for the more advanced hunter, the game can shoot back!

  2. I’m sorry, I want one of the tracked ones. I wonder if the gun mount could be modified to AA configuration? Make a handy drone swatter.

    • Well, as much as you’re funnin’ on Vice President Hairplugs, your suggestion does have weight if you use rounds filled with flechettes of hardened steel or tungsten. You could start down the latter road by simply breaking a bunch of TIG electrodes down to size, then grinding them on a greenwheel to get a razor-sharp tip.

      You’ll want to make sure that the shot cup keeps those projectiles fully contained while the round is in the barrel. These hardened projectiles would rip out the guts of the barrel within a few shots.

      Also, double guns used to have fixed chokes at the end of the barrel. You’ll need to ream out the chokes to cylinder profiles to prevent pressure spikes down where the barrel thins out.

      • Dyspeptic,

        A question, would you use a teflon wrap with that load too (like many of the BPI custom loads use) or do you think the teflon would not hold up? Inquiring minds want to know.

        • No, I was referring to your “sharpened TIG electrodes” load where you said “You’ll want to make sure that the shot cup keeps those projectiles fully contained while the round is in the barrel” and was pondering whether or not a Teflon or Mylar wrap would be a good additional precaution? If so, would those wraps even hold up to the hardness of TIG electrodes since they are usually intended for steel shot (not sure how TIG electrodes compare to steel on the hardness scale)?

          Something like these:

          Just curious. Thanks!

        • Unless the teflon is coated over the tungsten rods, I think it wouldn’t matter that much. If the teflon wrap didn’t peel off the rods quickly after the shot cup/buffer pulled away from the payload, then you’d have some very non-useful flight profiles of the darts.

          There are buffering compounds (that are like “sand”) that go into shotgun loads that would be useful to pack into the flechette loads once you’ve packed the number of darts you want in the load into the cup.

          It would be better yet if the tungsten rods could be ground with a wasp-like “waist” to them, and you could grind slight “fletching” onto the tail to help stabilize them, but now we’re limiting this discussion to those who have tool & cutter grinders (or a very good eye and lots of patience on a cupped grinding wheel).

    • That sounds about right – at 12,000-14,000 ft pounds, the .50 BMG dwarfs pretty much every other firearm out there that fires from the shoulder. These robots look pretty robust – hand gun rounds and 5.56 don’t look like they would stop one very quickly.

      I’m thinking .308 / .30-06 / .300 Win Mag or .338 Lapua / .416 Barrett / .50 for these. If they were equipped with their own guns, I wouldn’t want one close to me.

    • The .50 BMG was designed as an anti-material round, rather than the modern idea of a long-range precision shooting round.

      A .50 BMG round with a tungsten or carbide penetrator wrapped in a copper or brass sabot could penetrate at least a half-inch of hardened steel at close range. No mobile robot small enough to be pulled into position in an urban environment will be sporting such thick armor, so you could likely obtain the same results with far less than a .50 BMG round. Something from .338 on up, with a gilding metal sabot, will likely do anything needed.

  3. Depends on the kind of robot, and what kind of armament/armor in question.

    I would think a 7.62 NATO will do good for most devices. Some may need a more anti-material type rifle.

    Good luck figuring out how to take on the aerial drones though.

  4. “Time to tool up to fight the death machine onslaught? If so, with what?”

    Paint ball guns and paint grenades. Seriously. A robot has no way to wipe its “eyes” (camera lenses). A robot’s “eyes” (camera lenses) do not produce tears to help wash away paint that blinds them. An autonomous robot cannot operate if it cannot see.

    • You would have to be pretty quick with the paint and follow up immediately with a sledge hammer to disable firing mechanisms and locomotion.

      • Windshield wipers work with water, not paint. The wipers would just smear and at best the robot would see vague shapes at 3 feet and in.

        And yes, the paint gives you enough time to walk up and smash it with a rock or sledge hammer.

        This is a fantastic strategy as long as there is only one robot. This could get dicey if there were three or four — although the paint grenade might take care of that scenario.

  5. Were I to design a robot soldier I’d design it with multiple redundant systems so it could continue to function if partially damaged. Critical systems would be behind heavy armor and located deep inside the chassis, where they’ll be difficult to hit. Sensor arrays would be shielded as well as possible. They’d be built to take a beating, so if you want to take one out you’re going to need some pretty serious firepower. A .30-06 rifle MIGHT have enough punch to poke a few holes in the armor and if you’re lucky, you might hit something important. Unfortunately for you, while you’re readying another shot, the robot has already triangulated your position and has opened fire on you.

    No, if you want to take out a robot soldier, heavier ordnance will be required. Grenades and other explosive devices will be your best bet.

  6. 20mm Gatling gun for me, with uranium tipped shells. If it’s good enough for heavy tanks, it’s good for any robot.

  7. Self perpetuating *autonomous* robotic weapons are a bad idea whose time has already come and will not be stopped. It’s the old proliferation of new technological advances before the next guy strategy.

    That runaway train has already left the station and I fear that future generations will suffer the consequences of an eventual uncontrollable mechanical onslaught at some future time.

    • That’s the funny part. In the article they state that they do not yet exist which is either incredible disinfo, or ignorance. I’m not sure.

      They have existed in labs for several years, and in test environments for more than the last couple. Algos are being refined everyday. Not deployed in theatre anywhere, but if someone wanted to, they could be.

  8. Spray paint the cameras, if you can get close enough? Or if you want to be ghetto you could drop a blanket over the top

  9. well since it’s a such hard target i think the bullet configuration would be more important than caliber choice. A heavey solid metal FMJ would probably be ideal.

    • The Speer African Grand Slam Solid bullet, which formerly (until two years ago) had a tungsten carbide core, was the perfect backup bullet for Cape Buffalo and first bullet for Elephant. It was available in .375 H&H and up. Many safari operators lament its removal from production. Perhaps the growing “oh my god, it’s an autonomous killer robot” market will bring them back? No need for .50 cal.

    • …filled with coffee. I’ve spilled water on keyboards with no ill effects. Coffee, on the other hand, shows no mercy. Starbucks reg. tastes like it has something extra nasty brewed into it, makes me think it was designed for robo-warefare. Or maybe they’ll just multiply like gremlins? Obviously this needs to be studied and I’m sure there’s a few billions in grant money available just for this. Who’s with me?

  10. If I had to guess, whoever is building these would account for typical loadouts. Fast pulsing radar and IR sensors would negate simple “blind it” attempts with blankets and paint. That abd basic motion and hearing sensors would let a robot find you in the dark with no need for light at all. Heavy armor, which counts up to about 1/3″ or better of pressed steel us rated to stop .50BMG depending on load and range. Definitely is going to make standard .30 choices a repeat shot game…

    Best ideas I know of are microwave guns. There’s blueprints out there and hitting metal causes feedback, combustion and stuff that fine equipment isn’t likely to stand up to. That or some well placed or extremely thorough explosive ordinance. But one of these has a higher collateral damage chance and has way less room for error.

    Of course, absent those things, I would just go for the firearms ive got at hand and douse things with gasoline. It’s all in how much preparation time you’ve got.

  11. Have you people not seen Terminator 2? The best weapon for killing a killer robot is ANOTHER killer robot. Hack one of them and make it turn on its buddies.

  12. I doubt that there would be a ‘best gun’ that you could get now without going through a lot of hoops. .50 is best bet because you know they’ll be armored.

    I’d guess the best weapon against a ground robot would be a couple of cell phone and some explosives.

  13. How about a glass bottle with a mixture of gasoline, diesel fuel and laundry soap and a burning rag stuffed down the top?

  14. A “tactical disappear gun” AKA 10g.

    See that watermelon over there. Now you see it, now you don’t 🙂

  15. Speaking as one who knows robots, you don’t need a gun. A sock or some underwear on the floor is enough to immobilize most of them. After they are immobilized, my weapon of choice would be a sledgehammer.

  16. Do you really need a gun? You know these things will have IFF systems, wouldnt be surprised if it wasn’t much more than the flashing IR strobe you see soldiers attach to their helmets. Just walk up to the damned thing with some sockets and a ratchet and take its gun off.

  17. The army fosters technology, and technology breeds anarchy because it distributes the terrible machines of destruction. Even before this Jihad, one man alone could create and apply enough violence to ravage an entire planet. It happened! Why do you think the computer became anathema?
    Serena Butler

  18. To take out robots, in order of preference: AP/API rounds (bigger is better), fire (and lots of it), and of course, saltwater in the circuits (if its not water-proofed.)

  19. Where’s my comment on how to take out these things?

    I put it in, but it didn’t show up. And when I re-entered it, I was informed it was a ‘duplicate’.

    If it’s a duplicate, where’s the original?

      • I don’t think so. I think it’s ‘forbidden knowledge’. See reply to reply below…..

        If it were ‘spam filtes’, I wouldn’t be able to post at all.

      • Interesting….

        ….you are correct. When I edited the later post about thermite, and listed the four other techniques to deal with such robots, I was informed it was ‘spam’.

        Does this system’s ‘spam filter’ not like brackets with numbers in them? E.g., [1], [2]?

        Should I use bullets (•) instead?

        • The spam filter’s ways are mysterious and inexplicable. Occasionally I have messages filtered that neither I nor anyone else who reads them can discern the reason why.

  20. So I entered it AGAIN, with a slight modification, and IT STILL DOESN’T APPEAR?

    What is it? Am I providing forbidden knowledge?

  21. Booby traps, IEDs, and possibly a blink-bomb (explosively pumped EMP grenade). Although the microwave guns might be an idea. RPGs and flamethrowers should also be fun, but use multiples in case one is engaged by the robot.

  22. I’m just gonna put a sign on my door that says “no killer robots” they’ll see the sign and understand that they can’t do anything.

  23. Savage in 338 lapua, backed up with a rifled-barrel 12g pump loaded with Brenneke Magnum Crush slugs (>3800 ft/lbs).

  24. Don’t worry; they’d NEVER deploy them here.

    In all seriousness, entrapment and incineration is a good low-tech solution, with a winch-cranked, 700 pound pull ballista firing a 1″x3′ bolt made from an axel shaft as a backup.

    Firearms? Think I’ll be drilling/filling lots of 7.62x54R with phosphorus and potassium chlorate.

  25. I’m thinking thermite. Dragons Breath shells, or 37mm homemade thermite grenades. Something to damage sensors, and blackenthe clear armor they might wear over them, as well as incinerating any exposed wires and antennas, cook off ammo, and overheat the innards, and that’s until it finally breaches the hull. Thermal sensors would seem pretty useless mounted to an actively burning chassis, and lubes, greases and such don’t generally perform well so far outside their intended operating temperatures. Nevermind how electronics respond to overheating. I’m definitely thinking thermite ‘dough’. Something that will stick instead of scatter. It all depends on the robot I guess, but anything made to fit through man sized doors I would suspect would suffer badly from globs of thermite blasted all over it.

    Now, if you really want specialized, how about a ‘net’ gun in which the net is copper wire, tethered to a power supply. Some sort of a projectile degaussing weapon. I’m not sure if such could be made to work, or if it would have any effect on a combat robot, but if it does, installing degaussing coils around likely entry points seems like an anti robot mine concept to go with it.

    Also consider the sticky foam laucher/material made for crowd control. That’s ‘bound'(get it?) To gum up the works, literally.

    It would also seem that overweight activated trap doors near entry points would be advisable, the sort of thing that a heavy man could cross without noticing, but an armored robot would crash through.

    Some of these aren’t guns I realize, but the concept got me thinking.


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