The What If Machine - Robot Wars

Cam investigates just how close the military robo-soldiers of modern shooters come to their real-world counterparts.

Robots are abundant in modern military shooters and are the main focus for the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise. So I figured it's a great time to investigate just how close military robots in games compare to the real thing.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or you can get in touch directly over Twitter @camfrazrob using the hashtag #whatifmachine. If you have any topics you would like to see get the What If Machine treatment, let me know as well.

If you enjoy the show, then don't forget to visit the YouTube show page and subscribe! You need never miss your weekly dose of science-meets-video-games goodness.

Written By

Want the latest news about Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots?

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Discussion

187 comments
keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

i wanted to know more about the practicality of metal gears design, being bipedal in the way that it is (pretty much it isnt standing straight up, which would make it fall, but its standing in a way for maximum stability, mobility, and speed). i want to know if it is possible to creat in real life?

Zer0-kazi
Zer0-kazi

So much for black ops 2 for being unrealistic 

4rcher91
4rcher91

"Much less scary now huh!" ~ XD

crackityjonnes
crackityjonnes

the only things I want to see are lightsabers...

GarGx1
GarGx1

Scary and facinating at the same time. Within 10 years there will be autonomous robots capabale of lethal engagements deployed in the field. We'll probably be hearing the news reports about the first civilian casualties from them soon after

badkiely
badkiely

If this is the tech they admit they have can you imagine the tech they're actually using.Great show.

Nodashi
Nodashi

Wow, this one impressed me, very cool program, Discovery Channel quality. Good job!

placksheep
placksheep

This was a really cool piece. More like this plz Gamespot!

Hconduc
Hconduc

We got Battlefield 2143 coming our way. Nuff Said 

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

It may  be true now that robots cannot differentiate a civilian from a threat....but think in something "terminator" like where the robot can perform a biometric reading of the people and translate heart beat, stress, etc into combat data...

Whatch out for Cyberdyne!!!

idk95
idk95

@amdreallyfast I like the way you put that together.

ssorrekrab
ssorrekrab

Great show.  I thought the point about common scense was well made I'd not considered it before.  It doesn't look like humans will ever be able to leave the battlefield to robots.  That's probably a good thing as it retains the detterent of casualties.  If you could go to war without any of your men getting killed you might do it more often.

angubaranar123
angubaranar123

This show is amazing! If I could subscribe twice (I already subscribed right after the 1st episode) I would. Really.Please don't stop! 

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

I think the whole concept of robot warmachines is dumb, what happens if someone figures out how to hack them?

MjnE
MjnE

for some reason seeing that big dog robot move creeps me out, yikes

sestraux
sestraux

why can't I download this video? 

Entreri81
Entreri81

all this scenario remember me Robocop or to be more precise ED-209 in the room with the directive of the OCP...

he is not able to discriminate and just open fire... so its always been the concern of every one the inability of the robots to understand friends or foe and stuff like that. I think that within few years it will be possible for machines

to differentiate between the 2 but the problem is that to do so they will need a collective intelligence a "bigger" brain... and who is going to stop them when they get this bigger brain?!?!

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

I think wealthy and technologically advanced countries will pursue robots in an attempt to save their own people from the realities of war, but a downside is that war becomes impersonal.  It doesn't happen all at once, but very gradually.  Will robots ever fully replace humans on the battlefield?  I don't think so, but I also don't think that humanity, as a whole, will be able to help everyone overcome their hatred of others and their thirst for revenge, destruction, and war, robots or no robots.  I think these war games explore some important concepts, but it is also important to consider WHY people go to war in the first place and decide that certain other humans are better off dead.

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

The Gekko doesn't make sense as an effective weapon. It is much more efficient and cheaper to make something on treads and wheels than to make something with legs. Something with legs requires thousands of precise calculations so it doesn't fall over. Wheels don't.

Zoza24
Zoza24

Exoskeletons are reality, The Quadrotor technology are real, unmaned vehicles are all real..

 

But an very Advanced A.I. i still decades away, in meantime there is a hybrid between human and machine = Cyborg.

 

And Cyborg Technology is pretty damn real.

 

Codester_41
Codester_41

As for all the robots, I say keep it in your pants, or in other words, don't get hyped up about the bots, let's not go making some war-machines, let's leave that to the fantasy of VGs. Long live virtual Reality!

Codester_41
Codester_41

LMAO, Big Dog is one of the funniest robots. You heard of coz tipping, now try Big Dog tipping!

Leopard_Gr
Leopard_Gr

Congrats!!!Fantastic video!!!

 

In my opinion "They" just preparing us for what comes in future....

Da4biddenOne
Da4biddenOne

KEEP DREAMING PEOPLE. Robots will never replace humans. I will be getting Black Ops 2 though.

tmrtyn
tmrtyn

Another brilliant episode, great work Cam !

Really enjoyed it, can't wait for the next episode :)

Tazzman1000
Tazzman1000

Wow this show is very interesting. Normally I don't pay much attention to detail about robots in war games because I thought they were all far fetched, but now I'm amazed by how far robotics has come.

TBear7130
TBear7130

@Camfrazrob Good coverage, it would also be interesting to see info on HULC or robotic exoskeletons, increasing human strength and endurance on and off the battle field, but I somehow doubt Lockheed Martin initiated design to help improve freight loading.

da_nibbler
da_nibbler

great new episode. love this series. amazing idea, Cam. ;)

as for the contents of this episode, the more and more I hear of what we have and what we're making the more I think we are building Skynet's gadgets and it's not going to thank us for it.....

RBwd
RBwd

great vid cam

 

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

in a way robots have already taken over as thay are in our every day life and we cant live without them. Thay are in factories for the most part but other places as well.

LordRork
LordRork

Since I'm fairly sure I've seen a whole boatload of that stuff in the C&C series long before now, I say we counter with Ion Cannons.

 

Space lasers make everything better.

JustinCoplen
JustinCoplen

1 second and a half? Sounds like the kind of lag I get on my old machine.

kingster113
kingster113

Really great video. It would be great is some game studios start introducing some games that discusses the use of advanced autonomous robotics and its morale deeply. Would open up some great perspective to this matter.

kuda001
kuda001

Unfortunately this will never happen in our lifetime at least. The human is autonomous, flexible, in great supply, cheap and can perform almost every task a machine can although they break easily.

 

NickyWithATicky
NickyWithATicky

That was really really interesting.

 

And Big Dog is the freakiest thing I've seen in a while. I kinda want one - beats taking the bus.

Nodashi
Nodashi

 @Hconduc I think a BF3 DLC (like the vietnam DLC for BFBC2) would be enought. But I'd also buy BF2143.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

 @ssorrekrab You kidding?! The wars will happen even LESS if they use machienes. You need metal and every other resaurce to create a robot. And that gonna cost a hell lot of money. We need to think about the budget man! 

fourclawrider
fourclawrider

 @stan_boyd well we already got that problem, i recently saw a documentary about how most installations like waterfiltering stations, railways, nuclear powerplants etc in modern countries can be remotely controlled....so a single hacker with mad skills and a grudge could scew up the entrire planet anytime

y3ivan
y3ivan

 @Rickystickyman well MGS is a science fiction created by Kojima. He created a white hair dude with a indestructable blade that could even cut thru anything. Yeah thats realistic!! pppphhhh!

stormlord87
stormlord87

 @Rickystickyman legs aren't really a huge problem. bipedalism is very tricky. as the section on Big Dog showed, it looks like having a platform with 4 legs is much easier to manage

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

The people who losed jobs because of robots beg to differ. :P

SpazldNinjaDude
SpazldNinjaDude

 @kuda001 Ah but have you heard of mores law, using that in about 10 years we will have Thz (Terahertz) processing speed, and do you know what that means, 1 trillion calculations a second. at the moment we have lets say 5Ghz that 5 billion calculations a second, just to put in perspective. Then after the 1Thz, about 5 years after that we will be at about 30Thz I believe, if I have done the maths right. So in 15 years yer will have 30Thz of processing power, that is enough to make a machine that can fit around our bodies and so everything we do reacting to everything around it, walk on it's own even with directional controls from us, in fact that is enough to have autonomous machines, where it's a put it on target and let it do it's thing. We could probably do all of that now, but it will be slow.

placksheep
placksheep

 @Bumblebee1138 It's ok dude. Google is going to mine near-earth asteroids for more metal so's we can blow each other up better.

this3ndup
this3ndup

 @Bumblebee1138

 And men require instruction (costing easily tens of thousands of dollars each for basic training), food, housing, benefits, and monthly pay, as well as medical provisions when they are injured.  A robotic soldier would be more expensive up front, but you're discounting the lifetime costs of providing for a human warfighter.  Robots also have the potential to field fewer units with much higher accuracy and survivability.  I can't foresee robots ever replacing humans on the battlefield, at least in the decision-making process, but there are significant advantages to unmanned combat in many scenarios, and we'll likely see this increase as technology improves.

kuda001
kuda001

Well that's my point though, to build a robot that can act, behave and have decision making capabilities i.e. common sense to make correct judgements is something I don't see happening in our lifetime. Secondly have you considered the human brain's complexity as opposed to a machine's, processing speed is not the be all and end all of robotics good sir.

SpazldNinjaDude
SpazldNinjaDude

 @kuda001 Ahh ok good point. But I think with biotech it will happen. For the reason of the complexity of the brain, as you can just literary use a brain.