Peacebots Picket Robot Combat Event

Posted 29 Oct 2007 at 21:27 UTC (updated 29 Oct 2007 at 21:28 UTC) by steve Share This

The Northeast Robotics Club recently sponsored Robot Conflict, an event in which radio-controlled vehicles resembling robots are guided by their human controllers to destroy each other. Participants at the event were suprised to see protesting autonomous robots carrying signs that said "Make code not war", "Thou shalt not press others' kill switch", and "Extendable arms are for hugging". The robot protesters were created by students of an introductory computer science class at nearby Bryn Mawr university. The students said the robot protest was all in fun and that they actually enjoyed watching the mechanical mayhem as much as anyone. However, their professor pointed out the appropriateness that peacebots designed by four women protested a combat event in which 99 of 100 participants were male - and the very type of event which tends to discourage the participation of women in robotics. He went on to say, "we weren't really protesting robot violence. People have a lot of fun doing this, and that's great. I don't have any objection to that, but if people are going to use it for education, they ought to think twice."

Motivating contests, posted 31 Oct 2007 at 16:47 UTC by Rog-a-matic » (Master)

Robot contests (and combat) are great motivators. My experience with robot clubs shows a great increase in productivity of robot builders when faced with a contest. It appeals to many natural instincts.

These contests, especially if there is combat involved, have a way of taking our human nature and directing it in a more civilized way. Obviously these forces vary between gender, and that should be OK with everyone. But I doubt you'll see combat robot builders picketing sewing machine robot builders any time soon :)

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