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The Rise of Robot Warriors

Author Peter W. Singer discusses how the United States is remaking warfare using robots

7 min read
The Rise of Robot Warriors

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen the unprecedented rise in the use of robots by the United States both on and above the battlefield. Peter W. Singer, the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, has been tracking these changes and their impacts. He focuses his research on three core issues: the future of war, current U.S. defense needs, and the future of the U.S. defense system. Singer’s most recent book, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (The Penguin Press), takes a deep and broad look into the history and future of robotics and warfare. IEEE Spectrum Contributing Editor Robert N. Charette recently spoke to Singer about how robots are not only changing warfare itself but also the politics, economics, and ethics that surround warfare.

IEEE Spectrum: Reading Wired for War, I was struck by how much is out there about the massive social implications of using robots on the battlefield today but also that this information seems to be flying under the public’s radar.

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Paying Tribute to 1997 IEEE President Charles K. Alexander

The Life Fellow was a professor at Cleveland State University

4 min read
portrait of man smiling against a light background
The Alexander Family

Charles K. Alexander, 1997 IEEE president, died on 17 October at the age of 79.

The active volunteer held many high-level positions throughout the organization, including 1991–1992 IEEE Region 2 director. He was also the 1993 vice president of the IEEE United States Activities Board (now IEEE-USA).

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Robot Learns Human Trick for Not Falling Over

Humanoid limbs are useful for more than just manipulation

3 min read
A black and white humanoid robot with a malfunctioning leg supports itself with one arm against a wall

This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

Humanoid robots are a lot more capable than they used to be, but for most of them, falling over is still borderline catastrophic. Understandably, the focus has been on getting humanoid robots to succeed at things as opposed to getting robots to tolerate (or recover from) failing at things, but sometimes, failure is inevitable because stuff happens that’s outside your control. Earthquakes, accidentally clumsy grad students, tornadoes, deliberately malicious grad students—the list goes on.

When humans lose their balance, the go-to strategy is a highly effective one: use whatever happens to be nearby to keep from falling over. While for humans this approach is instinctive, it’s a hard problem for robots, involving perception, semantic understanding, motion planning, and careful force control, all executed under aggressive time constraints. In a paper published earlier this year in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, researchers at Inria in France show some early work getting a TALOS humanoid robot to use a nearby wall to successfully keep itself from taking a tumble.

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Industrial Functional Safety Training from UL Solutions

Build knowledge and skills to better navigate today's functional safety landscape

3 min read

UL Solutions offer personnel certification at both the professional and expert levels in automotive, autonomous vehicles, electronics and semiconductors, machinery, industrial automation, and cybersecurity.

UL Solutions

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