Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Robot Love

One of the psychologically interesting things is that these systems aren't designed to promote intimacy, and yet we're seeing these bonds being built with them," said Peter Singer, a leading defense analyst at the Brookings Institution and author of "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century" (Penguin Press HC, 2009).

Singer highlights many accounts of human soldiers feeling strong affection for their robots - especially on the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams where Packbots and Talon robots undertake the risk of disabling improvised explosives planted by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One EOD soldier brought in a robot for repairs with tears in his eyes and asked the repair shop if it could put "Scooby-Doo" back together. Despite being assured that he would get a new robot, the soldier remained inconsolable. He only wanted Scooby-Doo.

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