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Israel has deployed a new robot in its borders with Gaza that can operate “24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The robot, according to a new press release, is a semi-autonomous machine equipped with 7.62-millimeter machine guns. It is also “one of the first military robots in the world that can substitute combat soldiers.”

“We have led a groundbreaking technological development––an independent robot that reduces the combat soldier’s friction with the enemy and prevents risks to human life,” remarked in a statement Lt. Col. Nathan Kuperstein, Head of Autonomy and Robotics at the Israeli Defense Force (IDF)’s Land Technology Division. “It even knows how to charge itself––almost like an iRobot”. 

The new military robot is called the Jaguar and it can actually navigate its way to a designated area and even spot obstacles on the way. However, it requires a human operator to tell the robot to fire its machine gun or to self-destruct if it has been compromised.

The Jaguar’s software further allows it automatically adjust its aim to better target whatever a human operator tells it to focus on. It also has the ability to fire autonomously in certain scenarios such as when it is returning fire.

The Jaguar adds another level of protection on a border that is already equipped with drones, machine gun turrets, armed soldiers, and a naval blockade. While it most definitely will protect Israeli soldiers, one has to wonder what it will do for the already tense Israeli-Palestinian relations. 

Either way, the development was to be expected as nations’ military departments have very high research and development funds for engineering new military tech. The U.S. Army, for instance, already plans on deploying Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) by 2028, which consist of machine learning components designed to give killer robots autonomy and decision-making in the battlefield.

How close are we to seeing an era of autonomous killer robots? Time will tell.

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