I like the idea of combat robots — not necessarily hunter-killer type robo-soldiers, but more along the lines of support bots like BigDog and these new developments from MIT. The idea, of course, is to reduce not just the number of humans at risk on the field, but to automate dangerous tasks like delivering supplies under fire; after all, the supply line is a weak spot in any army and has been for thousands of years. If we can make it stronger and more reliable, that’s good for everybody but the enemy. What the hell, I’m talking like a general over here.
A “semi-autonomous forklift” isn’t going to raise any eyebrows, but when you consider the huge amount of food, ammo, and so on that are being dealt with every day, and the risks run by the people involved, it begins to make a lot of sense to replace them with robots. There’s an interesting video here (WMV, 27MB) showing how it might work. Video courtesy of CSAIL at MIT.
Of course, we’re also making an invincible supply line for the inevitable robot army that will destroy all humans, but hey. Most of the entries under the hateful Robocalypse tag cut both ways, although Littledog probably couldn’t do much except create a donut relay for pinned-down soldiers.