Billionaires Eye Robot Weapons to Protect Themselves From the Rest of Us

Caitlin Johnstone warns of a not-too-distant future in which unmanned weapons systems are sought out by wealthy civilians. 

(Alyse & Remi, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article:

So hey they’ve started mounting sniper rifles on robodogs, which is great news for anyone who was hoping they’d start mounting sniper rifles on robodogs.

At an exhibit booth in the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting and exhibition, Ghost Robotics (the military-friendly competitor to the better-known Boston Dynamics) proudly showed off a weapon that is designed to attach to its quadruped bots made by a company called SWORD Defense Systems.

“The SWORD Defense Systems Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR) was specifically designed to offer precision fire from unmanned platforms such as the Ghost Robotics Vision-60 quadruped,” SWORD proclaims on its website. “Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor allows for precision fire out to 1200m, the SPUR can similarly utilize 7.62×51 NATO cartridge for ammunition availability. Due to its highly capable sensors the SPUR can operate in a magnitude of conditions, both day and night. The SWORD Defense Systems SPUR is the future of unmanned weapon systems, and that future is now.”

Back in May the U.S. Air Force put out a video on the “Robotic Ghost Dog” with which these weapons are designed to be used, showing the machines jogging, standing up after being flipped over and even dancing. All of which becomes a lot less cutesy when you imagine them performing these maneuvers while carrying a gun designed to blow apart skulls from a kilometer away.

At one point in the video a senior master sergeant explains to the host how these robodogs can be affixed with all kinds of equipment like communications systems, explosive ordnance disposal attachments, gear to test for chemicals and radiation, and the whole time you’re listening to him list things off you’re thinking “Guns. Yeah guns. You can attach guns to them, why don’t you just say that?”

The SPUR prototype is just one of many different weapons we’ll surely see tested for use with quadruped robots in coming years, and eventually we’ll likely see its successors tested on impoverished foreigners in needless military interventions by the United States and/or its allies.

They will join other unmanned weapons systems in the imperial arsenal like the USA’s notorious drone program, South Korea’s Samsung SGR-A1, the Turkish Kargu drone which has already reportedly attacked human beings in Libya without having been given a human command to do so, and the AI-assisted robotic sniper rifle that was used by Israeli intelligence in coordination with the U.S. government to assassinate an Iranian scientist last year.

And we may be looking at a not-too-distant future in which unmanned weapons systems are sought out by wealthy civilians as well.

In 2018 the influential author and professor Douglas Rushkoff wrote an article titled “Survival of the Richest” in which he disclosed that a year earlier he had been paid an enormous fee to meet with five extremely wealthy hedge funders. Rushkoff says the unnamed billionaires sought out his advice for strategizing their survival after what they called “the event,” their term for the collapse of civilization via climate destruction, nuclear war or some other catastrophe which they apparently viewed as likely enough and close enough to start planning for.

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Rushkoff writes that eventually it became clear that the foremost concern of these plutocrats was maintaining control over a security force which would protect their estates from the rabble in a post-apocalyptic world where money might not mean anything. I encourage you to read the following paragraph from the article carefully, because it says so much about how these people see our future, our world, and their fellow human beings:

“This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time.”

Something to keep in mind if you ever find yourself fervently hoping that the world will be saved by billionaires.

LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman has said that more than half of Silicon Valley’s billionaires have invested in some type of “apocalypse insurance” such as an underground bunker to ensure they survive whatever disasters ensue from the status quo they currently benefit so immensely from.

The New Yorker has published an article about this mega-rich doomsday prepper phenomenon as well. We may be sure that military forces aren’t the only ones planning on having eternally loyal killing machines protecting their interests going forward.

We are ruled by warmongers and sociopaths, and none of them have healthy plans for our future. They are not kind, and they are not wise. They’re not even particularly intelligent. Unless we can find some way to pry their fingers from the steering wheel of our world so we can turn away from the direction we are headed, things will probably get very dark and scary.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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12 comments for “Billionaires Eye Robot Weapons to Protect Themselves From the Rest of Us

  1. robert e williamson jr
    October 15, 2021 at 10:45

    Billionaire need to be reminded that they can’t eat money and survive. And rthe rest of us will have to make certain they have only their filthy money to eat.

    Thanks CN

  2. Dennis Gannon
    October 14, 2021 at 16:04

    Robo wars? There are lots of sci fi movies in this line. Hackers get robots to kill the owners of the robots in one of them. In theory it is to save the lives of the infantry. I believe, eventually, war will be obsolete. But that may take thousands of years. Thanks for sharing.

  3. October 14, 2021 at 13:35

    “We are ruled by warmongers and sociopaths…”
    WHY? Because of our Bribe-O-cracy. Because of bribery in all its forms, the just laws that exist are not enforced on Super-Rich criminals because those criminals have been de facto employers and VIPs who must be served and pleased by US Judges, Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents who should have ruled over these criminals and enforced just law upon them. Thus President Bush II and Obama rescued a multitude of Super-Rich criminals from justice in 2008 when the most important thing for them to do was to prosecute them to rid US Big Business of criminal sociopath CEOs. Instead, they were rewarded handsomely for their crimes. The same principle was at work during the Savings and Loan crisis when the Republican Admin fought against its Banking Police to rescue Super-Rich criminals. Fortunately, the Banking Police prevailed back then.
    –Anyone who seeks to be President, Senator, etc. must seek sponsorship from the Super-Rich. Therefore when the Super-Rich are found to be criminals they are not prosecuted. Because of Gresham’s Dynamic (see William K. Black) the criminal Super-Rich has an advantage over the law-abiding Super-Rich. When laws aren’t enforced the criminal Super-Rich drives out the law-abiding Super-Rich. Today’s warmongers and sociopaths are the results of this dynamic.
    –Government officials erase just laws and refuse to write the laws needed for justice because of this system. Furthermore, government officials forge policy to drive windfalls to their bribers despite catastrophic long-term collateral damage to the nation. F-35 lemon, loss of many critical high-tech industries, the multitude of factory ruins, manufacturing incompetence, the US lost its science and technology edge in war, 10 million missing factory workers, shipyard ruins, Rust Belt ruin through multiple States, on and on goes the damage caused by bribe pumped malfeasance.
    –Finally, efforts to end bribery are weak to nonexistent. Some cede the war to bribery and tout Term Limits instead thus Term Limits masquerade as a substitute to rooting out bribery. The United States will either get serious and end its Bribe-O-cracy or be destroyed by it, perhaps by losing a major peer-power war with the winner dictating terms in D.C.

  4. TomG
    October 14, 2021 at 06:47

    In addition to what will become ubiquitous use in the military and no doubt in the “security” portfolio of the billionaires, I have little doubt we’ll see SWAT teams armed with these as well. We can’t resist arming our police in the same fashion as our military. Of course, we can be assured by our great minds, “These will never fall into the wrong hands.”

  5. Zhu
    October 14, 2021 at 01:14

    An so Terminator begins …

  6. Gerry L Forbes
    October 14, 2021 at 00:12

    Silas Stingy

    Once upon a time there lived an old miser man
    By the name of Silas Stingy
    He carried all his money in a little black box
    Which was heavy as a rock, with a big padlock
    All the little kids would shout when Silas was about

    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy
    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy

    Silas didn’t eat, which was just as well
    He would starve himself for a penny
    He wore old clothes and he never washed
    ‘Cause soap cost a lot and the dirt kept him hot
    All the little kids would shout when Silas was about

    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy
    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy

    In the back of his head was a voice that said
    “Someone will steal it all
    You’ll be lying in the gutter with an empty box
    The thieves will be having a ball”

    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy
    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy

    He bought a safe to put the box in
    And a house to put the safe in
    And a watchdog on a chain to make quite sure
    And his face was very funny
    When he counted up his money
    And he realized he hadn’t any more

    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy
    Money, money, money bags (money, money, money bags)
    There goes mingy Stingy, there goes mingy Stingy

    John Entwistle

  7. Jay Dee
    October 13, 2021 at 18:16

    Oh this could be great fun. Imagine hackers convincing the robots that the people they’re protecting are the enemy. This will end well.

  8. rosemerry
    October 13, 2021 at 15:36

    Notice the sympathetic friendly young man demonstrating the ghost dog robot which is fun and likeable! What a wholesome, welcoming start to a life of destruction of anyone we decide is an enemy.

  9. Dante
    October 13, 2021 at 13:43

    A great article, though I’m having trouble finding a source to back up this quote…

    “the AI-assisted robotic sniper rifle that was used by Israeli intelligence in coordination with the U.S. government to assassinate an Iranian scientist last year.”

    I can’t find any evidence that the U.S. government coordinated this attack with Israel. All I see is that Israel warned the U.S. they were going to make the attack, and the U.S. merely okayed it.

    • Jon Adams
      October 14, 2021 at 06:21

      The US and Israel are “interchangeable” in the middle east. Israel was created as a foil for western interests in the middle east; and so was Saudi Arabia.

      • Dante
        October 14, 2021 at 10:16

        The two nations may have the same foreign policy, but they are still two separate nations. That reckless simplification does not make it okay to twist the truth to fit your narrative.

      • October 15, 2021 at 23:00

        Israel is the end result of Zionism which was created and which conspired in the 1800’s to create a Jewish safe land / home land by going to Mandate Palestine, starting settlements and growing those settlements from Jews around the world who would be attracted to the project. The aim was to squeeze out and remove, by any means needed, the native Palestinians, something they eventually did in 1948 (the “Nakba” of the Palestinians).

        This did not go so well at first. Jews had good homes, jobs, civic life and other items of being established all around the world. Why give that up to dig in the dirt as an infiltration to eventually take over a land? Ironically, it would be antisemitism in action which would give Zionism an opportunity to bring in Jews to Palestine to add to Zionist settlements.

        In 1905 Lord Arthur Balfour managed to push the 1905 Aliens Act, the intent of which was to prevent Jewish refugees from pogroms from settling in the UK. Chaim Weizmann realized this was an opening and he could use this as a lever to funnel those rejected refugees to Palestine’s Zionist settlements. Eventually, this odd pairing led to the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

        Something similar happened around the Nazis, and just after WWII when Jewish refugees were not wanted. Many still didn’t want to go to Palestine and many didn’t, but enough did. There is so much more but I will leave it there. Israel wasn’t created as a foil. Truman was not that eager to go along, but he did. Israel is more in the way than a helpful foil.

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