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Israeli Bomb Disposal Robot Has a Terrible Job Cleaning Up After Humans

Illustration for article titled Israeli Bomb Disposal Robot Has a Terrible Job Cleaning Up After Humans

Yesterday in Israel, a bomb disposal robot inspected the scene of a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in the town of Dimona. The bot is remote controlled, and used an articulated arm to remove the jacket of the alleged bomber to be sure he doesn't have more explosives on his body. Want to see what else the robot does as it finishes its inspection of the area? (Warning: Images of a corpse may be disturbing.)

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Here the bot rolls over the body of the purported bomber, in a final attempt to be sure there are no more explosives on his person.

Illustration for article titled Israeli Bomb Disposal Robot Has a Terrible Job Cleaning Up After Humans
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And here the bot inspects debris. One Israeli was killed in the attack, which was claimed by a group of Palestinian militants.

Illustration for article titled Israeli Bomb Disposal Robot Has a Terrible Job Cleaning Up After Humans

Photos by HAIM HORENSTEIN/AFP/Getty Images.

In related news, a bomb scare today at a courthouse in Auckland, NZ, was also inspected by a bomb disposal robot of a slightly different make and model. Here you can see a guy driving the bot by remote control. Luckily, nobody was harmed — the bot retrieved a suspicious package that turned out to contain nothing dangerous.

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Illustration for article titled Israeli Bomb Disposal Robot Has a Terrible Job Cleaning Up After Humans

Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images.

Suicide Bomber Strikes in Southern Israel [Toronto Globe and Mail]

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DISCUSSION

annaleenewitz
Annalee Newitz

@NefariousNewt: Yeah, I feel conflicted about these images the same way a lot of you do. Last night when I was writing this post, I had a lot of doubts about posting it and spent a lot of time trying to make my language as neutral as possible.

I think it's important for us to see what combat robots are being used for, since they are the future of military engagement (and, increasingly, its present). I also think it's good to send robots to do the dangerous work humans once did, though I don't think the robots will see it that way when they attain human-like intelligence.

But like @NefariousNewt, I'd rather see us using our cool robot technology to create peace rather than to clean up after terrorist attacks. But in the time between the horror of war and the way of peace, I am glad we have smart people working on defense technology and combat robots. This is necessary technology, as horrible as it sounds.