When Predator drones made their debut years ago, they were strictly reconnaissance platforms. But of course, they “evolved”–first, the CIA armed them, then the military followed. The beast in the image here is innocuously named the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), a brainchild of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) that is to be fielded with Marine Corps infantry squads as a logistical “mule”–a robotic equipment and supply carrier. From the DARPA website:
To perform its mission without interruption to the squad’s operation the robot should be able to follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with the troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal with its handler. The robot could also be able to manoeuvre at night and serve as a mobile auxiliary power source to the squad, so troops can recharge batteries for radios and handheld devices while on patrol.
Prediction: we will see armed, semi-autonomous versions of these things in Yemen and elsewhere within five years. Terminators…Cylons…whatever we end up calling them, we will rue the day we allowed their creation.