Well, it is about time to start bending the knee to SKYNET. In case you aren’t familiar with the Terminator franchise, it is the role that let Arnold Schwarzenegger walk around in all black, killing just about everything, and uttering his famous phrase, “I’ll be back.” Basically, the movies depict the sad future of humanity where computers and artificial intelligence decide humans are the problem. Thanks to a new Russian robot, the world is one step closer to that fate.
According to the Kremlin, the robot is called F.E.D.O.R. That stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research. Over the weekend, Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian deputy Prime Minister, posted a video of the robot in action. The footage featured the mechanical behemoth driving a car and lifting weights. In addition, it showed the robot shooting guns at a firing range. Rogozin’s tweet noted that FEDOR can shoot equally well with both hands. However, he quickly followed up by saying, “We are not creating a Terminator, but artificial intelligence (AI) that will be of a great practical significance in various fields.” Yeah, practical fields like gunning down humans and driving tanks.
Furthermore, the Russians believe that combat robotics is a necessary part of developing the next breakthrough in AI. Apparently, teaching a robot to shoot accurately with both hands will help it perform better in the field of aviation. However, the Russians have even higher hopes for FEDOR. They plan to send the advanced robot to the International Space Station (ISS). Toward that end, FEDOR, which looks more like K-2SO from Star Wars: Rogue One than a terminator, has been learning practical skills. In addition to its firearms abilities, it can use keys in locks, change light bulbs, use a drill, do push-ups, fist bump, and manipulate small tools.
Funding for FEDOR comes from the Advanced Research Fund. Android Technics is responsible for its construction and programming. They plan to have FEDOR aboard the ISS by 2021. At that point, they hope to have increased its decision-making abilities and fine motor movements. However, there’s no word yet on what FEDOR itself wants to do.