22 August 2008

Welcome Aboard, Petty Officer T-1000

But Why Was I Programmed to Feel Pain!

No more "field day" or troublesome and time-consuming preventative maintenance in the Navy seems to be the desired end-state for the CNO. The Navy is developing robots to perform shipboard functions that could render a lot of sailors obsolete. From Navy Times:

Take a good look at that sailor next to you, because he won’t be there in tomorrow’s Navy, according to scientists and industry exhibitors at the Office of Naval Research’s annual Science and Technology conference in Washington Tuesday.

Unmanned systems, already becoming common in aerial battlefields, will continue to edge into the maritime realm to ease the workload of sailors and, in some cases, take their place, researchers said on the first day of the three-day conference.

Anxiety over a Hal 9000 cutting the oxygen supply in the engineering spaces to terminate the crew notwithstanding, this overzealous desire of Big Navy to spend massive amounts of money on government contracts as opposed to actually training sailors to be better craftsmen is not working. CDR Salamander talks about how the lack of training machinists, welders, and techs is having negative implications on the shipbuilding industry. Unless we want to contract out the construction of new combat ships to India and China, it might be better for the Navy to re-think priorities.

Although, the SPAWAR robot lab is pretty interesting pics, and the third photo in the Wired gallery looks like a cross between Gyromite and Jinx from Space Camp.