Video Game Database — MobyGames
Most Researched Games past weekMost Researched Companies past week
|Cat Play Studio
|Electronic Arts, Inc.
|Epic Games, Inc.
|Nintendo Co., Ltd.
|Big Ape Productions, Inc.
|Capcom Co. , Ltd.
Most Researched Professionals past weekRecent games, covers, screenshots and promo art
[ more ]
👋 Welcome to the new MobyGames! It’s all the same data we’ve been curating over the past 24 years,
but with an entirely rebuilt backend and frontend that enables much faster development. Check back often
as we’re working hard to fine-tune things, improve tools, and add new features.
1999 24 years ago
Corsairs: Conquest at Sea:
Windows version released (France)
2004 19 years ago
Knights of the Temple: Infernal Crusade:
Xbox version released (Germany)
2004 19 years ago
Dead Man’s Hand:
Xbox version released (United States)
2004 19 years ago
Gothic II: Gold Edition:
Windows version released (Germany)
2004 19 years ago
The sequel to Sam & Max is canned; the sales department believes there isn’t a market for adventure games in 2004.
2005 18 years ago
Red Ninja: End of Honor:
PlayStation 2 version released (Japan)
2006 17 years ago
The company acquires Juice Games Ltd.
2009 14 years ago
Empire: Total War:
Windows version released (Worldwide)
- [ more ]
NBA Live 2000:
NBA Live 2000 Even when a game is technologically iterative to its immediate predecessor, it can still stand out by the amount of content it offers. NBA Live 2000 was not a mere roster update — it included a new 1-on-1 outdoors mode, retro all-star teams that would later become commonplace in sports games, and the ability to import photographs into the game for custom player creation. These days we have to pay a lot of extra money for what used to come in a single box like this one…
Moby v20230301 Release
By MobyReed on
March 01, 2023
· 22 comments
Thanks again for all the feedback and bug reports! We’re working through them as fast as we can. Although we ran a long open beta, we’re dealing with a complex data set with many many tools, and there’s little substitute for real-world use. If you find anything that’s still not working, and not already on the Bugs forum, please add it.
Update log for v20230301:
- Added customization options to game browser: Add or remove icons and platforms from the list
- Added Spellings and forum threads to game overview when they exist
- Added contribute page and link to game, person and company menus
- Added localized timestamps and paging to forum
- Game browser now remembers sort preference (last used)
- Game browser now displays relevant info depending on sort (e. g., Moby Score when sorting by Moby Score)
- Quick search optimization and improvement
- Display most recent credits on person and company overviews
- UI/UX improvements and fixes for credits contribution form
- Default to saving resized PNG/GIF as PNG (note: some screenshots are JPEG that should be PNG and will be regenerated)
- Improved game preview
- Can now add multiple critic scores on game submission form
- Require partial dates to be in ISO format
- Do not require perspective to be selected for all games
- Allow moby group tags
- Allow moby_html in photo captions
- Removed erroneous proof requirement for related sites
- Fixes for reviews summary display
- Fixed permission errors
- Fixed game cover preview to show comments
- Fixed approval email preference setting
- Fixed company logo submission
- Fixed for profile editing
- Fixed display of credits source and release info
- Fixed handling of role names when editing credits
- Fixed report function for forum posts
- Fixed editing WIP/pending games
- Fixed adding mononymous developers
- Fixed places where mobile UI wasn’t wrapping or resizing properly
- Fixed missing URL redirects
- Misc. other fixes, tweaks, polish
Moby v20230223 Release
By MobyReed on
February 24, 2023
· 23 comments
- Added groups, genres and attributes to browse menu
- UI updates for contribution tools: critic scores and release info
- Better error reporting for image uploads
- Fixed “the role name is required” bug
- Fixed moby_html
- Email service fixes
- More URL redirects
- Misc. UI tweaks, fixes
- Misc. backend optimization, cleanup
Moby v20230222 Release
By MobyReed on
February 23, 2023
· 3 comments
As we continue fixing and polishing things up, I’m curious, what would be your ideal version of Related Games?
Update log v20230222
- Optimization pass on game collections and increased page size to 100
- Updated review / collect tool to display release year next to platform name (when relevant)
- Added ability to hide sections on the homepage
- Added preview functionality for forum posts
- Added ability to continue a rejected item
- Added approval comments on game submission step 2
- Enabled reordering of photos, screenshots, promo images
- Enabled non-integer values for critic scores
- Fixed email delivery
- Fixed forum thread message and unread counts
- Fixed product code editing
- Fixed editing promo images
- Fixed recent games endpoint on API
- Fixed adding new product codes
- Fixed review summary showing other platforms on platform pages Fixed errors not showing up in some contribution tools
- Fixed quick search person filter
- Fixes for merging people entries
- . ..and various UI polish and backend fixes
Feb 21 Update Log
By MobyReed on
February 22, 2023
· 6 comments
First update log on the new production platform! Thanks everyone for all the feedback and bug reports. We’re going through them as quickly as we can.
v20230221 update log:
- Added paging to game collections
- Credits submission now saves between steps
- Better error reporting on credits submission
- Sorting game collections now remembered as a user preference
- Game browser now supports up to 50 results per page
- Fixed navbar menu for iOS Safari
- Fixed credit and image submissions
- Fixed WIP game platforms with covers
- Fixed approver credit classification editor
- Fixed product code validation
- Misc. minor fixes, tweaks
Note: We are aware of a problem with the email service. Emails are getting queued up, but not sent. They should resume by morning.
The next chapter of MobyGames!
By MobyReed on
February 20, 2023
· 123 comments
Welcome to the new MobyGames! It’s the same database we’ve been curating over the past 24 years, but with an entirely rebuilt infrastructure, backend and frontend. We know it’ll take some time to get used to, and we are still refining things. It’s forever a work in progress, but now our rate of progress will be dramatically accelerated.
All data has been migrated, including:
- 323,918 games across 311 platforms
- 5,506,997 credits
- 1,015,236 industry professionals
- 45,642 companies
- 746,299 images of cover art, media, packaging
- 989,793 in-game screenshots taken by players
- 894,894 images of promotional art
- An infrastructure with vertical and horizontal scaling, automated testing, hot reload, atomic deploys
- Perl backend replaced with Python
- Built from scratch user interface for desktop and mobile
- New search functionality, including search as you type
- All new game browser that updates in place
- Dark mode
- Related games
- More data! Including game rankings per platform and frequent collaborator data
- Trending games, companies and industry professionals
- Easier to rate, review, and collect games
- Estimated approval times for contributions
- Updated contribution and approval tools, with more improvements on the way
- Countless tweaks, revisions, and optimizations throughout the database and site
And there’s much more to come as we continue working to make MobyGames an indispensable tool for gamers, historians, researchers, and the game industry writ large.
This project has been a long time in the works and we’re excited to finally put it into production! Tracy and I have been chipping away at this for years on a mostly part-time basis, along with feedback and testing with Moby admins, approvers and contributors all along the way. And with thanks to Atari for supporting the project, enabling full time development to get the new platform to feature parity and beyond.
Thanks to the MobyGames community for your support and feedback so far. We hope you enjoy the new site and we’ll be focused on fine-tuning and resolving any issues that arise. Then onward to improving contribution/approval tools and new features. We look forward to building on this new foundation! Stay tuned.
Prepare for launch!
By MobyReed on
February 11, 2023
· 2 comments
The site is going into read-only mode starting tonight as we begin the process of moving to the new platform! This may take a few days. We’re moving millions of images, recreating their thumbnails, and updating the database from Postgres 11 to 15, along with over 60 migrations.
In the meantime, feel free to continue browsing this site or the beta (which no longer requires login).
MobyGames Stats — 2022 edition
By vedder on
January 18, 2023
· 5 comments
As per tradition, I present to you this year’s database visualization! Made possible by the MobyGames API.
January 2022 —
January 2021 —
January 2020 —
January 2019 —
January 2018 —
June 2017 —
January 2017 —
January 2016 —
January 2015 —
January 2014 —
January 2013 —
January 2012 —
January 2011 —
January 2010 —
(Click to enlarge)
An explanation: each coloured shape in the graph represents a platform. The horizontal axis is time. The vertical axis represents the number of games released and is stacked. So the height of a shape on a given point in time indicates the number of games released for that platform that year. The total height of the graph on a given point in time shows the total releases that year. The graph is meant to represent game releases and thus excludes DLC, Special Edition and Compilation items. It does include each game for each platform it was released on.
As usual we see a drop-off at the end, simply because we haven’t been able to keep up with all the new game releases.
Feel free to point out interesting info in the graph and your contributions in the thread!
I have also updated the bar chart race I made last year with the new data.
New Year’s resolutions 2023
By chirinea on
January 02, 2023
· 15 comments
Happy new year! You know the drill, it’s that time again when we ask: what are your personal goals for 2023, MobyGames or gaming in general related? Here’s our resolutions from last year. What about this year? Let us know in the comments below.
What was the favorite game you played in 2022?
By Plok on
December 29, 2022
· 15 comments
As we do at the end of every year, let us reminisce on all the games we’ve played over the past 365 days and share our impressions.
As always, the games themselves need not have come out in 2022 necessarily, all that matters is that you played them and they left a mark on you.
The beta now open to all registered users!
By MobyReed on
September 25, 2022
· 0 comments
All registered MobyGames users can now log into the beta! Please check it out, explore and try to break things.
v20220923 update log
- Added import/export functionality to lists (check out your Game Collection page via your profile)
- Added ability to add games to lists via the list page
- Added ability to sort, edit and delete lists
- Added tooltip info for publishers and developers in game info block to indicate which release they are associated with
- Game browser now supports game groups
- Game browser now auto-populates company dropdown when there are fewer than 100 options
- Developer credit pages can now be sorted by role, date, Moby Score and genre
- Added reviews summary table to game overview and game reviews page
- Search now supports roman numerals
- Forum search can now be filtered by board
- Fixed Moby Score calculation
- Misc. UI polish
- Backend platform updates and optimizations (e.g., much faster search index rebuild)
War of the Machines: A Dramatic Growth in the Military Use of Robots Brings Evolution in Their Conception
Back in the early 1970s, a handful of scientists, engineers, defense contractors and U.S. Air Force officers got together to form a professional group. They were essentially trying to solve the same problem: how to build machines that can operate on their own without human control and to figure out ways to convince both the public and a reluctant Pentagon brass that robots on the battlefield are a good idea. For decades they met once or twice a year, in relative obscurity, to talk over technical issues, exchange gossip and renew old friendships. This once cozy group, the Association for Unmanned Systems International, now encompasses more than 1,500 member companies and organizations from 55 countries. The growth happened so fast, in fact, that it found itself in something of an identity crisis. At one of its meetings in San Diego, it even hired a “master storyteller” to help the group pull together the narrative of the amazing changes in robotic technology. As one attendee summed up, “Where have we come from? Where are we? And where should we—and where do we want to—go?”
What prompted the group’s soul-searching is one of the most profound changes in modern warfare since the advent of gunpowder or the airplane: an astonishingly rapid rise in the use of robots on the battlefield. Not a single robot accompanied the U.S. advance from Kuwait toward Baghdad in 2003. Since then, 7,000 “unmanned” aircraft and another 12,000 ground vehicles have entered the U.S. military inventory, entrusted with missions that range from seeking out snipers to bombing the hideouts of al-Qaeda higher-ups in Pakistan. The world’s most powerful fighting forces, which once eschewed robots as unbecoming to their warrior culture, have now embraced a war of the machines as a means of combating an irregular enemy that triggers remote explosions with cell phones and then blends back into the crowd. These robotic systems are not only having a big effect on how this new type of warfare is fought, but they also have initiated a set of contentious arguments about the implications of using ever more autonomous and intelligent machines in battle. Moving soldiers out of harm’s way may save lives, but the growing use of robots also raises deep political, legal and ethical questions about the fundamental nature of warfare and whether these technologies could inadvertently make wars easier to start.
The earliest threads of this story arguably hark back to the 1921 play R.U.R., in which Czech writer Karel ˆCapek coined the word “robot” to describe mechanical servants that eventually rise up against their human masters. The word was packed with meaning, because it derived from the Czech word for “servitude” and the older Slavic word for “slave,” historically linked to the “robotniks,” peasants who had revolted against rich landowners in the 1800s. This theme of robots taking on the work we don’t want to do but then ultimately assuming control is a staple of science fiction that continues today in The Terminator and The Matrix.
Today roboticists invoke the descriptors “unmanned” or “remote-operated” to avoid Hollywood-fueled visions of machines that are plotting our demise. In the simplest terms, robots are machines built to operate in a “sense-think-act” paradigm. That is, they have sensors that gather information about the world. Those data are then relayed to computer processors, and perhaps artificial-intelligence software, that use them to make appropriate decisions. Finally, based on that information, mechanical systems known as effectors carry out some physical action on the world around them. Robots do not have to be anthropomorphic, as is the other Hollywood trope of a man in a metal suit. The size and shape of the systems that are beginning to carry out these actions vary widely and rarely evoke the image of C-3PO or the Terminator.
The Global Positioning Satellite system, video-game-like remote controls and a host of other technologies have made robots both useful and usable on the battlefield during the past decade. The increased ability to observe, pinpoint and then attack targets in hostile settings without having to expose the human operator to danger became a priority after the 9/11 attacks, and each new use of the systems on the ground created a success story that had broader repercussions. As an example, in the first few months of the Afghan campaign in 2001, a prototype of the PackBot, now used extensively to defuse bombs, was sent into the field for testing. The soldiers liked it so much that they would not return it to its manufacturer, iRobot, which has since gone on to sell thousands. Similarly, another robotics company executive recounts that before 9/11, he could not get his calls returned by the Pentagon. Afterward, he was told: “Make ’em as fast as you can.”
This accelerating acceptance of military robotics became apparent as the Iraq War played out. When U.S. forces went into Iraq in 2003, the ground invasion force had no unmanned systems. By the end of 2004 the number had risen to 150 or so. A year later it had reached 2,400. Today the overall U.S. military inventory is more than 12,000. The same trend occurred with air weaponry: the U.S. military went from having a handful of unmanned aerial vehicles supporting the invasion force to more than 7,000 now. And this progression is just the start. One U.S. Air Force three-star general forecasts that the next major U.S. conflict will involve not the thousands of robots currently in the field but “tens of thousands.”
The raw numbers reveal an important shift in attitude by a military that just a few years ago remained dubious of its capabilities and protective of the age-old warrior’s prerogative of leading the charge into combat. Today the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy entice teenage recruits through television advertising that extols how, as one promotion puts it, the U.S. Navy is «working every day to unman the front lines.»
When teens do join the military, exposure to automated systems is integral to their experience, from induction to discharge. They use the latest virtual-training software to learn how to operate a particular weapons system. After training, they may well operate a lawnmower-size PackBot or a TALON ground robot that can defuse bombs or peek over the top of a ridge in the hunt for insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan.
If they end up at sea, they may well serve on an Aegis-class destroyer or Littoral Combat Ship, which operate as mother ships for a range of systems, from Fire Scout unmanned helicopters to Protector robotic sentry motorboats. If their career takes them into submarines, they could end up controlling unmanned underwater vehicles such as the REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring Units, a torpedo-shaped robot sub originally developed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) to detect mines or to conduct surveillance of unfriendly coastlines. If they become aviators, they may “fly” Predator or Global Hawk drones over Central Asia, while never physically leaving the continental U.S.
The War Bots of Tomorrow
Such technologies are billed in a recruiting ad as part of today’s military, while “seeming like science fiction. ” In reality, they are merely the first generation, a suggestion of more to come. That is, today’s PackBot robot hunting roadside bombs and the Predator drones flying over Afghanistan represent the equivalent of the Model T Ford and the Wright brothers’ Flyer. Prototypes for the next generation reveal three key ways that robots will change how we conduct warfare.
The idea of robots as mere “unmanned systems”—identical to any other machine, except without the presence of a human operator inside—is beginning to fade. The evolution recapitulates the trajectory of automotive history: thinking about cars as mere “horseless carriages” became an artifact as designers started to consider wholly novel forms and sizes. The similar casting off of preconceptions about robots is leading the machines to take on a wide range of shapes. As would be expected, some models take their inspiration from biology. Boston Dynamics’s BigDog, for one, is a metallic, equipment-toting quadruped. Others are hybrids, such as a Naval Postgraduate School surveillance bot that has both wings and legs. But other systems in early development have literally no form at all. ChemBot, a creation of the University of Chicago and iRobot, is a bloblike machine that shifts shape, such that it is able to squeeze through a hole in the wall.
With no humans inside, the size of robots can range wildly. Miniaturized robots already measure in millimeters and weigh in grams. Take a surveillance bot made by AeroVironment for urban combat. It mimics a hummingbird in size and in its ability to hover over a target. The next frontier is nanoscale robotics (structures measured in billionths of a meter) that some scientists believe will become commonplace within a few decades. In war these machines might be used for roles that range from “smart dust” that detects the enemy to cellular-level machines inside the human body that repair wounds or, in turn, cause them. At the other end of the scale, the ability to deploy a system that does not have to take into account human bodily needs is leading to gigantic unmanned systems, such as Lockheed Martin’s High-Altitude Airship, an unmanned blimp that carries a radar the length of a football field, designed to fly at above 19,800 meters for more than a month at a time.
Beyond size and shape, a second key change is the widening of roles these machines can perform in warfare. Much like the early “aeroplanes” in World War I, robots started out only for observation and reconnaissance and have now expanded into new tasks. Technology development company QinetiQ North America, maker of the TALON, introduced the MAARS robot in 2007, which is armed with a machine gun and grenade launcher and can take on sentry and sniper duty. In turn, med bots such as the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Robotic Extraction Vehicle are designed to drag wounded soldiers to safety and then administer care.
The third key change is the robots’ ever growing intelligence and autonomy. The inexorable growth in computing power means that today’s recently enlisted soldiers may end their careers witnessing robots powered by computers literally a billion times more capable than those currently available. The World War II–era military did not differentiate between the B-17 and B-24 bomber by how smart they were, but latter-day weapons systems require just such distinctions. The Predator series of unmanned planes, for example, has evolved from being purely remote-controlled to now being able to take off and land on their own and track 12 targets at once; the target-recognition software can even trace footprints back to their point of origin. Even so, the U.S. military is already planning to replace these planes, deployed since 1995, with a newer generation.
The expansion of robotic intelligence and autonomy raises profound questions of what roles are appropriate to outsource to machines. These decisions must be weighed on how effective the machines might be in battle but also on what this shift in responsibility would mean for both their human commanders and broader political, ethical and legal responsibility for their conduct. The most likely outcome in the near future is for robots to take on the semblance of “war fighter associates.” In this scenario, mixed teams of humans and robots would work together, each doing what they do best. The human element may well turn out to be akin to the quarterback in a football game, calling plays for robotic teammates, while giving them enough autonomy to react to changing circumstances.
The Real Story
these remarkable developments may still not fully capture the story of where robotics is headed and what it means for our world and the future of warfare. The full implications cannot be gleaned from describing physical capabilities, just as the significance of gunpowder is not captured by noting that it produced a chemical explosion that allowed a longer trajectory for projectiles.
Robots are one of those rare inventions that literally change the rules of the game. Such a “revolutionary” technology does not give one side a permanent advantage, as some analysts mistakenly believe, because it is quickly adopted by or adapted to by other combatants. Rather it causes shake-ups, not only on the battlefield but in the social structures surrounding it. The longbow, for example, was not notable simply because it allowed the English to beat the French at the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War; rather it let organized groups of peasants triumph over knights, ending the age of feudalism.
An apt historical parallel to the current period may well turn out to be World War I. Back then, strange, exciting new technologies that had been viewed as merely science fiction just years earlier were introduced and then used in increasing numbers on the battlefield. Indeed, it was H. G. Wells’s 1903 short story “Land Ironclads” that inspired Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, to champion the development of the tank. Another story, by A. A. Milne, creator of the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh series, was among the first to raise the idea of using airplanes in war, while Arthur Conan Doyle (in his 1914 short story “Danger!”) and Jules Verne (in his 1869 novel 20,000 Leagues under the Sea) pioneered the notion of submarines’ full use in war. First users had an edge, but it was fleeting. British invention and early exploitation of tanks in World War I, for example, was surmounted a mere 20 years later when the Germans proved with their blitzkrieg tactics that they had figured out how to use the new weapon more effectively.
The arrival of tanks, airplanes and submarines was important, however, because they raised a wholly new set of political, moral and legal issues that resulted in dramatic strategic consequences. For instance, differing interpretations between the U.S. and Germany over how submarines were legally allowed to fight (should they be allowed to sink merchant ships without warning?) drew America into the First World War, ultimately leading to its rise to superpower status. Similarly, airplanes proved useful not only at spotting and attacking troops at greater distances, but also at allowing the emergence of aerial bombing that often resulted in bombs raining onto civilian populations, giving an entirely new meaning to the term “home front.”
The Plot Thickens
we are seeing much the same circumstances today with military robotics. Take the idea of what it once meant to “go to war.” For democratic nations, it long signified a serious commitment that involved currying public favor for an endeavor that jeopardized not just the lives of its citizens’ sons and daughters but the state’s very survival. Unmanned systems (and their ability to carry out remote acts of force) erode the deterrent exerted by public sentiment, a decline already begun by the end of the U.S. military draft in 1979.
This distancing of the human combatant from the theater of conflict may well make wars easier to start and may even change how we view them. For example, the U.S. has carried out more than 130 air strikes into Pakistan using Predator and Reaper unmanned craft. This number is more than triple the total of manned bomber strikes that we launched in the opening round of the Kosovo War a mere decade ago. But unlike that war, robotic air strikes into Pakistan prompted no debate at all in Congress and relatively little reporting in the media. In essence, we are engaging in what we would have previously called a “war,” but without public deliberation. The conflict is not even considered a war, because it comes without any cost in U.S. human lives. By one measure, these strikes have been highly effective. They have killed as many as 40 leaders of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and allied militant groups without having to send American troops or pilots into harm’s way. But the repercussions of these strikes raise questions that are still being answered.
What is, for one, this technology’s impact on the “war of ideas” we are fighting against terrorist recruiting and propaganda? That is, how and why is the reality of our painstaking efforts to act with precision emerging on the other side of the globe through a cloud of anger and misperception? Whereas we use adjectives such as “precise” and “costless” to describe the technology in our mass media, a leading newspaper in Pakistan declared the U.S. to be a “principal hate figure” and “all-purpose scapegoat” because of the strikes. Unfortunately, “drone” has become a colloquial word in Urdu, appearing in rock lyrics that accuse America of not fighting with honor. This issue becomes more complex when weighing who should be held accountable when things go wrong. Estimates of civilian casualties range from 200 to 1,000. But many of these incidents occurred close to some of the most dangerous terrorist leaders around. Where does one draw the line?
The meaning of “going to war” is also changing for the individual warrior in 2010. Setting off to battle has always meant that a soldier might never come home. Achilles and Odysseus sailed off to fight Troy. My grandfather shipped out to fight the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. Remote warfare has changed the enduring truth of the past 5,000 years of war. A growing number of soldiers wake up, drive to work, sit in front of computers and use robotic systems to battle insurgents 11,300 kilometers away. At the end of a day “at war,” they get back in their cars, drive home and, as one U.S. Air Force officer put it: “Within 20 minutes you are sitting at the dinner table talking to your kids.” The most dangerous part of their day is not the dangers of the battlefield but the commute home.
This disconnection from the battlefield also leads to a demographic change in who does what in war and the issues it provokes about a soldier’s identity (young enlisted troops doing jobs once limited to senior officers) or status (the technician versus the warrior) or the nature of combat stress and fatigue. Remote operators may seem like they are just playing video games, but they experience a psychological burden of fighting day after day after day, with lives on the ground depending on their flawless performance. Their commanders describe the challenges of leading units fighting remotely as being far different and sometimes even more difficult than leading regular units physically in battle.
With each step in the growing lethality and intelligence of robotics, the role of the “man in the loop” of decision making in war has begun to diminish. For example, the pace of war is such that only systems such as the Counter-Rocket Artillery and Mortar, or C-RAM (which looks a bit like the Star Wars robot R2-D2, with a 20-millimeter automatic machine gun attached) can react quickly enough to shoot down incoming rockets or missiles. The human is certainly part of the decision making but mainly in the initial programming of the robot. During the actual operation of the machine, the operator really only exercises veto power, and a decision to override a robot’s decision must be made in only half a second, with few willing to challenge what they view as the better judgment of the machine.
Many observers argue that such a trend will lower the likely mistakes in war, as well as ensure that the laws of war are uniformly followed, as if they were software code in a computer processor. Yet this attitude ignores the complex environment of war. An unmanned system may be able to pick out a man carrying an AK-47 rifle from over a kilometer away and tell whether he fired it recently or not (by the weapon’s thermal signature), but knowing whether that man is an insurgent, a member of an allied militia or a simple shopkeeper will be as hard for the machine as it is today for any human soldier.
Nor is the age-old “fog of war” being lifted by technology, as former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other advocates for the digital battlefield once believed. For instance, the sophisticated C-RAM technology reportedly once mistook a U.S. Army helicopter for an enemy target because of a programming error. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Unluckily, what an investigative report described as a “software glitch” in a similar antiaircraft system in South Africa produced a less benign outcome in 2007. Armed with a 35-millimeter cannon, the weapon was supposed to fire into the sky during a training exercise. Instead it leveled and fired in a circle, killing nine soldiers before it ran out of ammunition.
Such incidents, of course, raise immense legal concerns. How should one apportion accountability? What system of law can even be relied on for guidance? These instances demonstrate that technology often moves faster than our social institutions. How do we reconcile our 20th-century laws of war to the new reality?
A New Beginning
our definitions and understandings of war, how it is fought and even who should fight are in great flux, driven by a remarkable new technology that delivers immense capability. Humankind has been in this same kind of situation before. We often struggle to integrate and understand new technologies and then eventually look at what was once considered strange and even unacceptable as completely normal. Perhaps the best example can be invoked from the 1400s, when one French nobleman argued that guns were tools of murder a true soldier would not deign to use. Only cowards, he wrote, “would not dare to look in the face of the men they bring down from a distance with their wretched bullets.”
We have “progressed” since then, but the story today is much the same with robotics. Mastery of the technology may turn out to be much easier to address than the policy dilemmas arising from the incredible capabilities of machines that can change the world around them. Indeed, it is for this reason that some scientists invoke a different historic parallel to where we stand now with robotics than the gun or airplane, instead citing the atomic bomb. We are creating an exciting technology that is pushing the frontiers of science but raises such penetrating concerns beyond the scientific realm that we may well come to regret these elaborate engineering creations, as did some designers of early nuclear warheads. Of course, just like those inventors back in the 1940s, today’s robotics developers continue their work because it is militarily useful, highly profitable, as well as the cutting edge of science. As Albert Einstein supposedly said, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
The real story is that what was once only fodder for science-fiction conventions has to be discussed seriously and not only at the Pentagon. This narrative is of importance not solely to what takes place at robotic trade group meetings, in the research labs or on the battlefield but to how the overall tale of humanity is playing itself out. Humankind had a 5,000-year monopoly on the fighting of war. That monopoly has ended.
In Russia, groups of combat robots will be created by 2025
In Russia, by 2025, fundamentally new unmanned combat robots will be created and introduced into the Armed Forces, capable of performing tasks with maximum autonomy and minimal remote participation of the operator. All of them will be able to carry and use a small arms-grenade launcher module, a 120-mm mortar, and launch disposable drones.
In Russia, fundamentally new unmanned combat robots are being created, capable of performing tasks with maximum autonomy and minimal remote participation of the operator, reports RIA Novosti with reference to a source in the military-industrial complex.
The main innovation is the Marker experimental platform, first publicly presented last month at the Magnitogorsk test site for robotic systems and complexes and developed by Androidnaya Tekhnika NPO.
Five platforms are provided for robots, in particular: a transport and filling machine and a security robot. All of them will be able to carry and use a small arms-grenade launcher module, a 120-mm mortar, and launch disposable drones. Robots should be created by 2025.
“In the future, these machines will collide with their own kind. We believe that such robots will fight with robots. The value of a robot is to replace a person, to exceed his capabilities, ”the Russian defense industry is sure.
The day before, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, which considered the prospects for the development of the Armed Forces until 2030, FAN reports.
He noted the level of equipment of the Russian army with modern weapons, many of which have no analogues in the world, reports HSN .
“I will especially note the successful implementation of the state armament program, which made it possible to start a radical technical re-equipment of the military organization. In the army and navy, the share of modern weapons and equipment is already more than 68%,” the head of state stressed.
Putin also talked about the need to expand the range of reconnaissance and strike drones, robots, laser and hypersonic systems when creating high-precision weapons.
“The range of unmanned reconnaissance and attack aircraft, laser and hypersonic systems, weapons based on new technical principles, as well as robotic systems capable of performing diverse tasks on the battlefield should be expanded,” he said.
A month earlier, it became known that cheap unmanned maritime systems were being introduced into NATO due to concerns about the high activity of Russian submarines. Especially Western strategists are concerned about the carriers of the Kalibr cruise missiles of the Russian Air Force.
In particular, dozens of different systems were tested in Portugal to deal with opponents, namely, detecting a submarine, setting up surveillance of it and transmitting its coordinates to a strike ship group.
Thus, during the Silver Arrow exercise in Latvia, the military tested an upgraded version of the REMUS 600 unmanned aerial vehicle, which is equipped with a sonar, various sensors and transducers.
In addition, NATO deployed the Wave Glider, an autonomous robot that can carry sophisticated tracking equipment, in maneuvers.
It is recharged by solar panels and is able to move almost indefinitely on the surface of the ocean at speeds up to two kilometers per hour.
In August of this year, the Okhotnik heavy strike drone made its first flight accompanied by a Su-30SM fighter, according to an extended video of its first flight tests published by the Defense Ministry on YouTube.
The board number of the tested prototype of the Okhotnik, according to published footage, is 071. The video shows how the Okhotnik and the fighter fly parallel to each other at the same speed and altitude.
Piloted Su-30SM in a separate area makes a flight with lowered landing gear, just like the device, repeating the level of roll of the drone to the right or left. Such a parallel flight is carried out to verify the flight parameters and the operation of the systems of the tested aircraft with the corresponding parameters of the already used aircraft.
The first flight of the Hunter lasted over 20 minutes. The Ministry of Defense clarified that the device, under the control of the operator, circled the airfield several times at an altitude of about 600 m and made a successful landing. The flight was carried out at one of the test airfields of the Ministry of Defense.
In May, it was reported that the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is going to develop artificial intelligence (AI) for American combat aircraft. The project was named Air Combat Evolution (ACE).
AI is supposed to bring autopilot systems to a new level of quality and fighters controlled by it will be able to react faster in combat than pilots. The publication drew attention to the fact that close air combat requires special concentration and tension from pilots.
The AI system can be trained, that is, able to master air combat from basic simple elements to complex maneuvers. Mastery of new technologies will be assessed by experienced pilots.
“We envision a future where AI can process maneuvers in a fraction of a second,” said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dan Javorsek.
Washington has long been interested in introducing artificial intelligence into the defense system.
In March, President Donald Trump even pointed this out in a budget request he sent to the US Congress. In it, he asked for a 5% increase in defense spending, to $750 billion in fiscal year 2020, which begins October 1.
In the request, the administration indicated investment in new technologies, including autonomous systems, hypersonic technologies, and artificial intelligence programs. Moreover, the executive branch plans to spend about $208 million on AI. The White House is going to allocate “more than $59million for research, development and prototyping.”
South Korea also plans to introduce military robots by 2024. This was reported by the Yonhap agency with reference to the report of the department on arms procurement programs. These robots will be created not only in the form of a person, but also animals, snakes, insects and marine life. The scope of such robots is quite extensive. They can be used for reconnaissance purposes, as well as in search and rescue operations.
Read online «The War of the Machines» — Maxim Dalin — Page 1
The War of the Machines
The selector comes to life on my desktop. My secretary Claudia’s voice is longing:
— Boss, just got a call from the Emergency Service. Riots on Lipovaya Alley, caused by the failure of household appliances. Walter asked you to call back urgently, boss.
I really want to break something, but it’s not Claudia’s fault, you can’t take it out on her. I breathe in irritation and anger inside and say cheerfully:
— Run, Run, Clo. Tell the Lanses I’ll need them. Nobody else is needed.
I turn off the selector and swear with pleasure for a minute. I slam my fist on the table.
— Wow! Alik-Khamlo says admiringly. What a vocabulary!
“Sorry,” I say. — Take the schemes, we will agree later. I like the idea, but I need to think.
“Goats,” Alik says with feeling, turning off the tablet. — I’m leaving.
“Freaks,” I nod and contact the Chessmen.
I am immediately connected to Walter, he was waiting for a call.
— Hi, Robbie! he yells into the phone as happily as if he had a call from an elderly millionaire aunt. «You’ll help out, won’t you?» It is necessary, old man, to save money for the city…
— Why, again, not thank God? I ask darkly. — What kind of home appliances? Corporate, private? Come on, lay it out, I want to know what to prepare for.
“Private,” says Walter. “General fur maid, firms…
“Barlow, don’t bother,” I interrupt. — “Microcircuits without a problem”, no movies without advertising, another unfortunate vacuum cleaner, my Lord Asimov, how I hate it all … Past cases were enough for the throat.
“Please,” Walter says with a tenderness that even a freshman would not deceive. — There are serious problems, the cops were called, the house was cordoned off, the residents were evacuated, the devil knows what all this can lead to. You know how to work with this, Robbie — well, please!
Oh, we don’t need expertise? And everything turns out to be lousy to such an extent that the cops get confused next to each other? Great, just great.
— Are the owners alive? — I ask, already starting to gather.
“More or less,” Walter chuckles. “Hurry up, otherwise here …” and cheerfully dictates the address.
— I got it, I got it. Hang up, I’ll be back in twenty minutes. Do nothing.
— Long time …
— Not a fire — I cut and hang up the call.
Claudia and both Lances are already on the doorstep: a beauty from an old, still flat film and two athletic-looking eagles, vaguely resembling each other, like brothers who grew up in different families. Our most “fired upon” Galateas: Claudia is my first mech-modifier, ISKIN, my old permanent comrade, Lances are third-generation bodyguard mods, they have proven themselves in rescue operations. Explosions, fires, collapses, terrorist attacks…
And now we’re heading to save the crazy food processor. Or the owners — from him. Lived up.
Barlows are bastards. How many times have they told the world that it is impossible to put self-learning neurostoric systems on mixers and coffee grinders — no! Like peas on the wall. Greedy boys need spectacular advertising. They are the most, to burst, progressive of the manufacturers of household junk. They have, tailed to the collective corporate head, a special technique with special abilities, «microcircuits without a problem», «you will teach your thing everything that your imagination tells you. » The toys are expensive and the game is a bastard. Extremely sleazy.
AIs cannot be stamped on the assembly line. Intelligence is unique, any, even artificial. It’s not a fact, of course, that the same “microcircuit without a problem” will learn to self-awareness — but it can, it can happen. And then the very problems whose absence is promised by advertising will not keep you waiting.
«We don’t understand what the problem is, boss,» Lance the Aristocrat asks. What do the cops mean by denial?
“They cordoned off the house,” I say. — Anything. Maybe everyone just got scared, imagining a riot of machines. We will orient ourselves according to the situation, get ready for work in extreme sports.
We run to the elevator. Galateas always run around on alarm — and I’m used to it.
We go down to the garage.
“Pity her, boss,” Claudia sighs. Sweet sensitive girl. “Same neurostor circuit as we have, as far as I understand, boss?”
“The firmware is different,” I say, driving the car out. — They are stitched very carelessly. They are primitive, like old adding machines. But — yes, the base is the same, you’re right.
Lance-Ryzhik gets behind the wheel and turns off the autopilot.
«Don’t be a scorcher,» I say. — They’ll wait.
«Pity her, boss,» Ryzhik replies guiltily.
Touching solidarity of AIs… But this unfortunate contraption that went out of order — is it AI in the full sense of the word? Does she have intelligence and free will? Or did the control program just crash on a lousy machine?
I once tried to talk to George Barlow. We used to study together; now he is a thoroughly successful businessman, smooth as a advertising rhyme, always smiling and always dressed to the nines, and I am almost a marginal, even though my Galateas were bought by the leaders of the country. From Georgie’s point of view, I can’t do things. “You want too much from a client,” he said with a beaming smile. “Ethics, not ethics… You won’t earn anything that way. You want the customer of the product to be a father, but that doesn’t happen. The client is greedy and stupid, mind you. He wants an exclusive, expensive one, so that his neighbors and relatives will wipe their noses — but he will still treat this miracle like a chamber pot bought at a sale. Can’t do it any other way. It will, understand, still chop nuts with a microscope, and dry a thoroughbred kitten in the microwave. Because he’s mean and stupid. But — do not tell him this in any case: a wealthy client likes to be respected and ready — well, for everything. Like an Arab concubine.
At that time, I remember, I tried to object that it is not good to sell kittens to those who like to dry them in the microwave — or you should at least write a point in the instructions on this matter. Georgie just laughed. «Don’t drive! he said and just rolled over. — He buys a smart electronic woman for a million and a half. Yourself. Do you really think that, having paid such money, he will remember the instructions? Yes, he will just put her on all fours — and a can of beer on her back, he does not care at all! Whoever pays for a thing wants to feel like the owner, understand! And do not freak out because of the sold product — it is no longer yours. “Then don’t bet big-capacity self-learning brains on the cheap,” I said. «No baby,» Georgie grinned. “Now it’s fashionable, they pay money for it.”
The conversation did not work out. And the story began.
While we were fiddling with the first Galatea, bringing her body to absolute convenience in functioning, raising her like a living human child — Georgie invested in advertising and launched mass production, forgetting all the psychological subtleties. We sold ten copies—checking and rechecking customers with absolute confidence in every car—and Georgie’s first print runs sold out like hot cakes. Five hundred pieces of each series.
Barlow Mechs cost slightly less than Galateas, although production costs were not comparable in principle: Georgie saved on everything. In addition, unlike our machines, which require special training for the owner, his furs were positioned as a public commodity, easy-to-use electromechanical toys: fly in! In advertising, Barlow emphasized prestige and sex — and the design of his cars was quite consistent.