Deathbot: Unboxing and first look.

Ok, so the title is a bit of a marketing ploy, but it grabbed your attention didn’t it!

One of the reasons I left my last job was because it was decided that the company was going to refocus on the defense sector. This was not a particularly outlandish decision as this was where most of the teams experience was based, never the less it was not something I wanted to be a part of. I had fears of one day seeing something I had worked on being used to bring pain, suffering and probably death on innocent people, after all, I had no control over who the systems were sold to (I’m not suggesting I should have done). I now feel vindicated and here’s why.

One of the projects I worked on whilst on this job was blighter (I was responsible for the regression testing of the front end software). Blighter is basically superficially a clever e-scan radar system that can be used to track anything from a tank to a sand badger, across all sorts of terrain. One day, I was looking at something one of the guys had worked up, whereby the radar could track a Software Engineer moving across the courtyard (there were no sand badgers available) and focus a camera on that position. I was horrified when I considered the possibility of switching the camera for a weapon of some kind and instantly imagined such devices being used to control borders in North Korea, or other such places.

The blighter system has now been ordered by the MOD and the story was also picked up by The Register. If you look in the comments section, you will see that people are already suggesting adding a .50 Cal to the blighter and creating a “gunbot”. Deathbot more like and soooooo not for me!

13 thoughts on “Deathbot: Unboxing and first look.

  1. Holy sensationalism batman!

    What do you think the armed forces around the entire planet have been using to target their weapons for the past five decades?

  2. You have clearly missed the point of this post if you feel the need to ask such a question, however, the answer to your question is: nothing that I helped to create. I don’t want to be even the tiniest bit responsible for the death of any innocent people (nor do I care to help restrict their freedoms).

    By sensationalism, are you referring to my title (in which case I can’t argue), or to the content?

  3. Deathbot = sensationalism?

    My point is simply that it’s the same technology that you use to help you reverse your car.

    Maybe not your ST, but you know what I mean…

  4. The title of the post is misleading, but I stand by my assertion that a blighter could be turned into a deathbot if the camera was switched for a gun.

    W.R.T the application of the technology, I have no problem with companies that make systems for consumer products, but defense companies see only profit: they sell their equipment to whoever can afford it, without even considering the consequences. My objection is a moral one.

  5. Defence companies sell their equipment to whoever can afford it? Doesn’t that mean consumers? A bit like tabacco companies, pharmaceuticals, brewers, etc.

    But then I know you have a problem with them too 8-)

    All I am saying is that the ‘deathbot’ application could be just as easily be put together using plenty of other peices of off-the-shelf equipment. I don’t think that Blighter is anything special.

    Never mind that it’s already been done by Samsung anyway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentry_gun

  6. Blighter was the closest I came to defense systems and it, in part, made me realise that I didn’t want to be complicit with the manafacture and distribution of such systems – this is what makes it special.

  7. Fair enough… now get back to work on your ‘big brother’ surveillance cameras… 8-)

  8. Come on you can do better than that!

    Is St Pancras public property? Answer, no. Therefore the owners have a right to know what you are doing in their shopping centre/station.

  9. Although it may all come under the banner of ‘defence’, I see a big difference between being involved in making a radar and making a missile.

    Radars don’t kill. (Unless of course you happen to be standing right in front of it while its transmitting!) They help to tell the person using it what’s out there.

    The purpose of a missile is to cause death and destruction.

  10. I’ll wait while you get your head out of the sand and then I’ll savage your ridiculous attempt at reasoning!

    The radar helps to deliver the death. Period. It is 100% complicit.

  11. Thanks for agreeing with me Dave, I’m glad that you can see how damaging the misuse of “defense” systems can be.

    Unfortunately, I suspect most people will buy into the rhetoric and renew their thought that such systems are required to defend our borders, without stopping to consider that our own companies might be selling weapons to the aggressors.

    Bit of a misnomer isn’t it, defense?

    The public are so easily fooled by the defense companies “Happy Meals” advertising, distracted from the death by the shiny packaging and the promise of a cheap toy!

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