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Record number of robots installed in the workplace in 2018 — RT USA News

American companies installed a record number of robots in the workplace in 2018, according to a...
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Video: 18th century Moscow, virtual chemistry lab & chatting robots: Innovation forum kicks off...

Russian tech firms & politicians have been getting together at Moscow state university, for an innovation forum. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9kew RT LIVE ... Via Youtube

coppers to use flying robots to track offenders back to their homes — RT...

A UK police force is being trained to operate drones, enabling them to take images...

Robots In World War 3?

By Mac Slavo SHTFplan.com September 24, 2018 ...

Robots have power to brainwash children & alter their behavior, study finds — RT...

Robot pressure could soon replace peer pressure as a chief concern amongst parents with new...

Child sex robots ban approved by US House amid nationwide crackdown on pedophiles —...

The US House of Representatives has approved a ban on importation and sale of child sex...
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Video: ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ Russian robots flirt (SUBS)

Courtesy: hi-tech.mail.ru Click on 'Subtitles' button! In case robots still don't creep you out enough, two of them got together in Russia for a...
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Video: Do robots have rights?

A group of AI experts has written an open letter to the European Comission calling for robots never to be given legal status. The...

Blame the Robots – LewRockwell

Don’t worry about social media being invaded… it’s the robots that will get you...

Facebook, Twitter and the rest are at the center of a moral panic about how...
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Video: SEX ROBOTS: Synchronizing orgasms & doing the shopping

Android 'companions' can enjoy love-making and in the future will boost 'free will' and potentially replace prostitutes, according to creator & engineer Sergi Santos....
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Video: Rise of the Robots: Californians attack self-driving cars

Amid talk of workplace automation in the US, it seems humans are quite literally fighting back. Crash reports filed in California in 2018 reveal...
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Video: Humanity doomed? Robots can now open up doors!

THAT Black Mirror episode 'Metalhead' suddenly feels far more realistic and creepy! READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8yzs Courtesy: Boston Dynamics RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to... Via Youtube

Boston Dynamics Robots Can Now Hold the Door for Its Friends

The most rewarding YouTube upload notification I ever opted into, without exception, is for the Boston Dynamics channel. With each semi-monthly notification...
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Video: Keiser Report: Magical thinking, whimsical robots & melting Alaska (1166)

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy discuss magical thinking, whimsical robots, and melting Alaska. In the second half, Max continues...

Capitalism’s Failure Of The Flesh: The Rise Of The Robots | By Phil Rockstroh

Humankind, being an inherently tool-making species, has always been in a relationship with technology. Our tools, weapons, machines, and appliances are crucial to forging...

To bot-ly go: VR robots will do space work & defuse bombs

Published time: 16 Dec, 2017 03:51 Edited time: 16 Dec, 2017 08:19 New software by Brown...

Robots Are Being Used to Shoo Away Homeless People in San Francisco

The San Francisco branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has been ordered by the city to...

Capitalism’s Failure Of The Flesh: The Rise Of The Robots

Humankind, being an inherently tool-making species, has always been in a relationship with technology. Our tools, weapons, machines, and appliances are crucial to forging...

Terrorists could use murderous robots to kill us all, experts tell House of Lords...

Published time: 30 Nov, 2017 18:01 Terrorists could soon use swarms of killer robots to...

Elon Musk warns of robots that are too quick for the eye — RT...

Published time: 28 Nov, 2017 02:36 Edited time: 28 Nov, 2017 02:40 Elon Musk has warned...

Ban on Killer Robots Urgently Needed, say Scientists

Technology now exists to create autonomous weapons that can select and kill human targets without supervision as UN urged to outlaw them...
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Video: Watch these GIANT manned robots clash in first ever epic battle

The moment sci-fi enthusiasts have been waiting for their whole lives finally arrived as the world's first ever giant robot fight took place. America...

72% of Americans believe robots will take jobs in major industries – study

Published time: 5 Oct, 2017 13:05 Most Americans fear robots taking jobs in industries such as...

Final barriers to life-like robots overcome – US scientists (VIDEO)

Published time: 20 Sep, 2017 10:05 Edited time: 20 Sep, 2017 10:06 A 3D-printed “synthetic soft...

The Rise of the Robots and the End of Capitalism?

Photo by Nick Amoscato | CC BY 2.0 Recently, there has been much speculation concerning automation and its anticipated effects on human life. This philosophical...

Britain fights for right to field ‘killer robots’ in direct defiance of UN

The UK will oppose a preemptive ban on ‘killer robots’, despite widespread calls in the...

Robots set to divide British society, report warns

Published time: 10 Jul, 2017 15:30 The rise of robots taking over jobs threatens to...

Sex robots could provide therapy and treat loneliness in care homes

Elderly people living in care homes could soon be enjoying the company of specifically designed...

For Whole Foods Workers, Fears of Robots, Drones and Culture Clash

The merger that shook food and retail stocks on Friday - Amazon.com Inc's proposed deal to buy Whole Foods Market Inc -...

Robots that think and feel like humans will live among us in 10 years,...

Daily Mail | Robots that can think and feel like people could soon be living among us, according to one expert. Read more

Future of beach warfare: US Marines test ‘HyperSub,’ machine-gun toting robots & more (VIDEOS)

Published time: 28 Apr, 2017 10:46Edited time: 29 Apr, 2017 18:59 Around 50 advanced weapons are being...

Farmers could turn to robots to make up shortage of human workers after Brexit

A new generation of robots is being readied to fill a labor shortage on Britain’s...

Robots could take over millions of jobs in the next 15 years – report

Millions of jobs in the UK are in jeopardy because of robots taking over various...

It’s no R2D2, but Knightscope’s crime-fighting robots aid police

Maybe someday it will menacingly order citizens to drop their weapons — or else, a la Robocop. But for now, the Knightscope crime-fighting robots, demonstrated...

Robots could take 250,000 public sector jobs by 2030, think tank warns

Robots could soon replace up to 90 percent of the British government’s administrative staff, sparking...

Robots with ‘cultural awareness’ could soon be looking after your granny

Humanoid robots programmed to be culturally aware and have a good bedside manner could help solve the crisis in care services for the elderly,...

Robots Will Start Delivering Food to Doorsteps in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

Starting today, residents and businesses in Redwood City, Calif., and Washington, D.C., can get food delivered right to their doors — via...

Robots could erode the right to privacy, Britons fear

Artificial intelligence could erode privacy, make face-to-face contact a thing of the past, and stop...

Robots Could Replace Almost Half of US Jobs by 2036

Automation through robots and other artificial intelligence could affect nearly half of all US jobs, a report from the Obama administration has...

Robots could replace almost half of US jobs by 2036

Automation through robots and other artificial intelligence could affect nearly half of all US jobs, a report from the Obama administration has found. Education...

Celebrity sex robots could thrust human intercourse aside, experts predict

According to a new study, intercourse between long term couples is expected to dwindle in the not so distant future, being saved only for...
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Video: Battle of the machines: Robots compete in football final at World Robotics Olympiad...

Robots are competing in the football final of the World Robotics Olympiad on the outskirts of New Delhi, the capital of India. RT LIVE...

Robots could put more than 1mn Brits out of work by 2030 – study

More than 1 million jobs could be automated by 2030 as part of a fourth...

Robots could be the worst thing ever for humanity, warns Stephen Hawking

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be the worst thing to ever happen to humanity, acclaimed physicist...

Robots are coming… and will ‘fundamentally’ change human life, UK MPs warn

The UK government is not prepared for the imminent arrival of robots, which will “fundamentally” change lives, take over jobs and raise serious ethical...

Make way for our future overlords: Robots to take 6 percent of jobs by...

Robots are poised to replace interns as the unrewarded and unpaid worker ants of industry. A study by Forrester Research has projected that by...

Robots aid Army in destruction of mustard-gas stockpile

US Army robots are set to destroy 78,000 mustard-gas artillery shells in a specially made $4.5...

Robots will ‘liberate’ 25% of business service workers by 2035, claims Deloitte

A quarter of jobs in Britain’s business services sector will be taken over by robots in the next 20 years because of falling technology...

Rise of the love machines? People will soon be losing their virginity to robots,...

Teens may soon have their first sexual encounters with specially-designed robotic dolls, an expert has...
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Video: Keiser Report: Robots on the rise (E922)

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy discuss whether 'the system' can survive robots and whether a man can stand on...

Buying robots would be cheaper than hiring at $15 an hour – former McDonald’s...

A robotic revolution is set to happen in the fast food industry if a $15 minimum...

Multi-gendered robots? Custom traits help humans decide their household uses (VIDEO)

Giving a robot multiple gender traits through custom screens helps create “multi-functional” roles for the household,...

Robots to replace middle class professionals within 20yrs – scientists

Scientists predict traditionally middle class jobs in law, medicine and architecture will soon be performed...
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Video: ‘End of Labour day’: ‘Robots’ protest to introduce basic income in Zurich

Activists from the 'Unconditioned Basic Income' movement held a protest in Zurich, Switzerland, during which they marched wearing cardboard robot costumes. Via Youtube

Drone chic? Think tank blasts trendy myth of killer robots’ precision

The myth of the effectiveness and flawless precision of drone technology in modern warfare that...

Get on up like a sex machine: Touching robots’ ‘private parts’ turns on humans...

Touching robots in their “private parts” arouses humans in a “primitive, social way”, according to researchers...
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Video: Yale Professor Wendell Wallach On Killer Robots, Smart Technology & The Need For...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivujGe1ifuA&w=580&h=385] Please Support The Show – http://richieallen.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in at ... Via Youtube

British Military wants robots to make life-or-death battlefield decisions

Identifying threats on the battlefield could soon be a decision made by artificially intelligent machines...
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Video: Russia to send robots and engineers to Syria to help demine Palmyra

Russia says it will deploy bomb disposal experts and technology into Syria in the next few days to help defuse explosives in the city...

Order up: Robots may take over Carl’s Jr.

More concerned with an increase in the minimum wage than an apocalyptic robot uprising, one major...

Robo-geddon? 6 microrobots move a car 18,000 times their weight (VIDEO)

We don’t want to alarm you, but researchers appear to have come a step closer to...

Robots rising: Tories unprepared for economic impact of automation, say Labour

(RT) - Deputy Labour leader TomWatson has called on Chancellor George Osborne to establish a...

When Robots Commit War Crimes

The use of robots in combat will be accompanied by a lengthy learning curve – and, likely, many civilian casualties. (Pictured: Modular Advanced Armed...

Another Reason Economists Don’t Know Much About the Economy: The Story of the Robots

(Photo: Robotic Arm via Shutterstock) The public's confidence in economists was rightly shaken by the fact that almost no economists recognized the housing bubble and...
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Video: Real-life military robots & more: Russian Defense Ministry Innovation day

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yWOcxvPvnc&w=580&h=385] Russia's Defense Ministry is showing off the results of its research aimed at creating advanced military machines at an exhibition in Kubinka near...
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Video: 100% manmade roaches: Russian scientists create miniscule robots to tackle great tasks

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iSInXJZqiU&w=580&h=385] If something looks like a cockroach and behaves like a cockroach — well, don't be so sure. It could be a Russia-created miniature...

Robots will cut 25% of US jobs in 4 years, transform workforce — report

The encroachment of self-help kiosks and grocery store scanners has led doomsayers to suggest automation threatens the workforce of the future. A new report...
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Video: Robots will create art & may even fall in love – AI engineer

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEA6GyM4msQ&w=580&h=385] The quest for creating AI (Artificial Intelligence) is on. Two decades ago it all sounded like a far-fetched plot in a science fiction...
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Video: Time Traveling Robots Punish Future Crimes

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSEkvxHcGTI&w=580&h=385] Artificially intelligent robots could one day comb through digital data left by Internet users and retroactively punish them for “future crimes” that were...

The Robots Are Coming, And They Are Replacing Warehouse Workers And Fast Food Employees

There are already more than 101 million working age Americans that are not employed and 20 percent of the families in the entire country do not have a single member that has a job.  So what in the world are we going to do when robots start taking millions upon millions more of our jobs? [...]

HazMat alert: use robots to approach Froot Loops

HazMat alert: use robots to approach Kellogg’s Froot Loops by Jon Rappoport March 10, 2014 www.nomorefakenews.com Actionnetwork.org describes Kellogg’s Froot Loops: “We sent a box of Froot Loops to a lab for genetic testing and found the corn and soy are 100% Roundup Ready GMO. Sugar is also a Roundup Ready GMO. “Roundup Ready means […]

US Army to Replace Human Soldiers with “Humanoid Robots”

What will a robot army look like? Or more important, how will it behave? These questions are timely ones given the Army general who in...

Robots sent into U.S.-Mexico drug tunnels as border patrol unveils latest weapon in war...

dailymail.co.uk January 15, 2014 Robots are being sent into drug tunnels used for smuggling narcotics into...

‘Sorry, Dave, I can’t let you do that’: Robots learn, network without humans

RTJanuary 15, 2014 A World Wide Web for robots just got more real as scientists ready...

U.S. Border Patrol to demonstrate new tunnel robots

The Voice of RussiaJanuary 13, 2014 Border Patrol agents are using new robot technology to catch...

Autonomous Terminator Like Robots will Decide Your Fate

Infowars.comJanuary 4, 2013 The U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) revealed its Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap, setting...

Rise of the TSA Robots At Airports

Jack Nicas Next to have their jobs automated: airport-security screeners? Aviation and government authorities are starting to use machines in lieu of people...

Robots are the not-too-distant future of war

Chris TilburyThe KernelDecember 18, 2013 The need for humans to participate in armed conflicts could soon...

Literal Android: Google develops robots to replace people in manufacturing, retail

Now that the mystery surrounding the elusive Google barges in the San Francisco Bay reported last month has been brought to light, the Silicon...

Professor Warns of Robots Armed With Tasers

Campaign to ban killer robots achieves success at UN Paul Joseph WatsonInfowars.comNovember 28, 2013 Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Noel Sharkey warns that autonomous...

Metro Detroit Hospital Gets Germ Zapping Robots

CBS Detroit November 20, 2013 A Metro Detroit hospital has a powerful new weapon in the war against germs. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is the first hospital...

‘Killer Robots’ could be outlawed

Harriet Alexander Telegraph.co.uk BAE Systems' Taranis, a semi-autonomous unmanned warplane, that will use stealth technology and can fly intercontinental missions and attack both aerial and ground...

Robots to counter soaring labor costs’ in China

China Daily November 13, 2013 Zhejiang province is to invest 500 billion yuan ($82 billion) over the next five years to encouragemanufacturers to adopt more robots to overcome the short supply and high cost of labor. The program is underway and will help at least 5,000 companies a year, a source with theinvestment division of the Zhejiang Economic and Information Commission told China Daily,without giving details. Replacing humans with robots is the most effective way to tackle the labor shortage and risinglabor costs, the commission said. From 2005 to 2012, average labor costs in Zhejiang, a hub for private manufacturing enterprises,almost tripled from 14,847 yuan to 41,370 yuan a year, with an annual increase of nearly 16percent. In a survey conducted by the commission in May, 75 percent of respondents said rising costswere the main reason for switching to robots. As factories used more robots, the proportion of surveyed enterprises with labor shortagesdropped from 80 percent last year to 56.4 percent. The survey was based on replies from 515enterprises that have introduced robot workers. More than 60 percent of the enterprises surveyed have reduced production line employees by atleast 10 percent, while 16 percent of the firms have cut their production jobs by more than 30percent. Meanwhile, robot workers have helped these factories improve productivity by morethan 10 percent. If such a strategy is adopted by large enterprises throughout the province, the labor shortage willbe reduced by 700,000 workers, saving 29 billion yuan in labor costs a year, the commissionsaid. Li Gang, president of the robotics sector in China at ABB, a leading supplier of industrial robots,said China has become a "world factory", but with increasing awareness of health and safety themanufacturing sector faces challenges in the workplace. "Replacing workers with robots in dangerous and unhealthy working environments and usingthem for more creative jobs will be an inevitable choice for China's manufacturing sector," Lisaid. He was speaking at a forum during the 15th China International Industry Fair in Shanghai lastweek. Li said robot sales in China accounted for 21 percent of the world's total in 2012, and heestimates that the country will become the largest robot market in the next year or two. Experts ruled out the possibility of robots triggering job losses. Feng Xiliang, deputy dean of the school of labor economics at Capital University of Economicsand Business in Beijing, said using more robots is a rational choice made by companies totackle the labor shortage. "But there are jobs that cannot be managed by robots at the moment," Feng said, adding thatfewer jobs for humans in the industrial sector could release extra labor for the booming servicesector, which has a much greater capacity for employment. However, using robots still doesn't appear to be a cost-effective choice for some enterprises,with the high initial investment remaining a main concern for business owners in Zhejiang,especially for cash-strapped smaller companies. The commission's survey found that only 17 percent of enterprises are willing to pay more than10 million yuan to implement the robot substitution strategy, with most expecting to recover theinvestment within two to three years. More than 80 percent believe government subsidies should be granted for robot purchases,while more than half the respondents said they will only consider buying robots if such anincentive is introduced. Most said robots are the choice for large companies and that using human labor is still generallycheaper than buying robots. "Demand for robots will be strong in China," said Wang Tianmiao, head of the expert panel onrobot technology under the State High-Tech Development Plan. "We've only seen the tip of theiceberg. Use of robots will penetrate many sectors, such as telecommunications and healthcare." With a flourishing robot market, Wang said, prices will be more transparent and acceptable forbuyers as domestic robot companies emerge. Ma Longguan, president of Shenyin and Wanguo Securities, said the number of robots sharedper 10,000 workers averages 55 globally, nearly 350 in South Korea and Japan, but in China it isonly 21. "South Korea's industrial robot market developed quickly when the country's per capita GDP hit$6,000," Ma said. "China's per capita GDP is now $6,700, so we are just at the start of a marketboom."

Do You Trust Robots?

Tiffany Shlain and husband Ken Goldberg, Professor of Robitics at UC Berkeley, share some thoughts about robots in a new short film “Why We...

US healthcare and flying death robots

Hey, remember that time when the U.S. had a Predator drone hovering over a suspected terrorist's house in Yemen for four hours, and nothing...

The U.S. Military Is Creating Iron Men, Super Soldiers And Terminator Robots To Fight...

The wars of the future are very likely going to resemble many of the science fiction movies that we are watching right now. ...

The U.S. Military Is Creating Iron Men, Super Soldiers And Terminator Robots To Fight...

Terminator - Photo by Stephen Bowler

The wars of the future are very likely going to resemble many of the science fiction movies that we are watching right now.   The U.S. military is in a global race to create the “technologies of the future”, and some of the things that they are coming up with are disturbing to say the least.  Are you ready for future conflicts where “Iron Men”, “super soldiers”, “Terminator robots”, and autonomous drones do most of the killing?  Are you ready for American soldiers that have been genetically modified to perform superhuman feats of strength, run at superhuman speeds and even regrow limbs?  The truth is that all of this stuff is being developed right now and most Americans have no idea that it is happening.

Have you enjoyed watching the “Iron Man” movies that have come out in recent years?  Tens of millions of Americans have flocked to see those films, and now they are being used as inspiration to create a new generation of “exoskeletons” for U.S. soldiers.  In fact, it is being reported that this revolutionary new “smart armor” was specifically “inspired by Tony Stark’s legendary nano suit used in the Iron Man movie series“.  This armor is currently being developed at MIT, and according to the BBC this armor will give U.S. troops “superhuman strength”…

The US Army is working to develop “revolutionary” smart armour that would give its troops “superhuman strength”.

It is calling on the technology industry, government labs and academia to help build the Iron Man-style suit.

Other exoskeletons that allow soldiers to carry large loads much further have already been tested by the army.

The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (Talos) would have such a frame but would also have layers of smart materials fitted with sensors.

The suit would also need to have wide-area networking and a wearable computer similar to Google Glass, the US Army said.

Most people would not object to high tech armor for the military, but what about genetically modifying soldiers themselves?

That is an entirely different thing altogether.

In a previous article, I included a quote from a Daily Mail article that discussed how DARPA is now working on ways to create “super soldiers” that will be able to run at Olympic speeds and regrow limbs that have been blown off…

Tomorrow’s soldiers could be able to run at Olympic speeds and will be able to go for days without food or sleep, if new research into gene manipulation is successful.

According to the U.S. Army’s plans for the future, their soldiers will be able to carry huge weights, live off their fat stores for extended periods and even regrow limbs blown apart by bombs.

The plans were revealed by novelist Simon Conway, who was granted behind-the-scenes access to the Pentagon’s high-tech Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

How in the world could those things possibly be accomplished?

Through genetic modification of course.

A different Daily Mail article explained how this might work

Most gene modification techniques involve placing genetically modified DNA inside a virus and injecting it into the human body. The virus then enters human cells, and its modified DNA attaches itself to the human DNA inside those cells.

But should we really be using viruses to modify the DNA of our soldiers?

Should we really be modifying the DNA of anyone?

Of course not.

This is very dangerous territory.  Just because we now have the ability to “play God” and alter human DNA does not mean that we should.  If our scientists are not careful, they could end up creating monsters far beyond what anyone could imagine right now.  And once Pandora’s Box is opened and these super soldiers start spreading their DNA around, it simply will not be possible to put the genie back into the bottle.

Another area where the U.S. military is pushing boundaries is in the field of robotics.  For example, Northrop Grumman has developed a 1 1/2-ton unmanned killing machine that is known as MADSS

The MADSS is one mean robot. Developed by defense industry leader Northrop Grumman and currently being showcased at the Fort Benning, Ga. “Robotics Rodeo,” the MADSS is a 1 1/2-ton unmanned ground vehicle designed to provide soldiers with covering fire while cutting down targets.

Make no mistake, it’s an automatic shooting machine, But it requires people to operate it and set targets. The MADSS — Mobile Armed Dismount Support System — tracks and fires on targets only once it gets the green light. It won’t shoot unless a soldier is directing it.

It’s half killer robot, half killer giant remote-control car. While its top speed hasn’t been stated, Northrop Grumman has said that it can follow troops on foot at about five miles an hour over rough terrain that conventional combat vehicles would find impassable.

But a remote control vehicle is one thing.

A “Terminator-like Atlas robot” is another.

Right now, Boston Dynamics is working on a 330 pound humanoid robot that looks like something out of a bad science fiction movie…

Finally, there’s fresh footage of Boston Dynamics’ Terminator-like Atlas robot, which was unveiled earlier this year. The 6-foot, 330-pound humanoid, which may or may not be a future robot infantryman, is designed to use tools and walk over rough terrain.

Check it out stomping over several boxes of rocks like nobody’s business, and then standing on one foot while being hit with a swinging weight.

Of course, it laughs on the inside at these pathetic human challenges.

You can view Atlas in action right here

And personally, I think that the very human-looking robot known as “Petman” is even creepier.

You can see “Petman” in action right here…

As long as humans are controlling this kind of technology, at least there are some safety checks.

But what if we started creating killing machines that made their own decisions?

That sounds crazy, but according to a recent National Journal article that is exactly what is being developed.  As you read this, scientists are working on ways to enable drones “to make even lethal decisions autonomously”…

Scientists, engineers and policymakers are all figuring out ways drones can be used better and more smartly, more precise and less damaging to civilians, with longer range and better staying power. One method under development is by increasing autonomy on the drone itself.

Eventually, drones may have the technical ability to make even lethal decisions autonomously: to respond to a programmed set of inputs, select a target and fire their weapons without a human reviewing or checking the result. Yet the idea of the U.S. military deploying a lethal autonomous robot, or LAR, is sparking controversy. Though autonomy might address some of the current downsides of how drones are used, they introduce new downsides policymakers are only just learning to grapple with.

The basic conceit behind a LAR is that it can outperform and outthink a human operator. “If a drone’s system is sophisticated enough, it could be less emotional, more selective and able to provide force in a way that achieves a tactical objective with the least harm,” said Purdue University Professor Samuel Liles. “A lethal autonomous robot can aim better, target better, select better, and in general be a better asset with the linked ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] packages it can run.”

Would you be comfortable with unmanned drones flying over your neighborhood that are able to decide on their own whether to kill you or not?

I certainly would not be.

This kind of reminds me of the killer drones in the new movie “Oblivion” that Tom Cruise starred in.  I certainly would never want such technology being used to patrol the streets of America.

And what if we lose control over this kind of technology once it becomes widespread someday?

In the past, such notions where laughable.  They were used as plots for bad science fiction movies and that was about it.

But now we are moving into a time when science fiction is becoming science reality.

Are you ready for that?

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

Michael T. Snyder's Shocking New Novel About The Future Of America

The U.S. Military Is Creating Iron Men, Super Soldiers And Terminator Robots To Fight...

The wars of the future are very likely going to resemble many of the science fiction movies that we are watching right now.   The U.S. military is in a global race to create the “technologies of the future”, and some of the things that they are coming up with are disturbing to say the [...]

Oxford Professors: Robots And Computers Could Take Half Our Jobs Within The Next 20...

What are human workers going to do when super-intelligent robots and computers are better than us at doing everything? That is one of the...

Killer robots and crippling cyber attacks: How the world is going to end

According to super brains such as Stephen Hawking NICK MCDERMOTT Daily Mail September 13, 2013 They are an improbable group of superheroes. But some of...

Israel’s Killer Robots

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Autonomous Robots Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You

Autonomous Robots Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You

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Posted on Feb 8, 2013

FDA has approved the use of autonomous telemedicine robots in U.S. hospitals; although President Obama’s second term inaugural speech was inclusive and liberal, it failed to mention the growing crisis of inequality our nation faces; meanwhile, a new book details the scandalous antics of hard-partying authors. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

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AlterNet Comics: Tom Tomorrow on Platinum Coins and Flying Killer Robots

What does it take to be a very serious person these days?

January 18, 2013  |  

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A New Industrial Revolution: The Rise of the Robots

(Photo: CartoonArts International / The New York Times Syndicate).(Photo: CartoonArts International / The New York Times Syndicate).It's taken me a while to get around to Bob Gordon's stimulating essay suggesting that the great days of economic growth are behind us. It's not that different from things he's been saying before, and I have in the past had a lot of sympathy for that view. I now believe, however, that his technological pessimism is wrong — or if you prefer, it's the wrong kind of pessimism. But this is definitely a discussion worth having.

Mr. Gordon, an economics professor at Northwestern University, argues, rightly in my view, that we've really had three industrial revolutions so far, each based on a different cluster of technologies. In an essay published in September by the Center for Economic Policy Research, Mr. Gordon writes:

"The analysis in my paper links periods of slow and rapid growth to the timing of the three industrial revolutions: IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830; IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900; and IR #3 (computers, the Web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present."

M. Gordon then argues that IR#2 was by far the most dramatic, which again seems right. Think of the America shown in the film "Lincoln," which is a society shaped by IR #1 but not yet transformed by IR #2. It was a society in which people could travel much farther and faster than ever before — but when they got to their destinations, they were still living in a horse-drawn society. Most people still lived on farms and the cities were cruder and dirtier than we can easily imagine. By the 1920s, however, urban America was already recognizably a modern society. What Mr. Gordon then does is suggest that IR #3 has already mostly run its course, that all our mobile devices and so on are new and fun but not that fundamental.

It's good to have someone questioning the tech euphoria, but I've been looking into technology issues a lot lately, and I'm pretty sure he's wrong: the information technology revolution has only begun to have its impact. Consider for a moment a sort of fantasy technology scenario in which we can produce intelligent robots able to do everything a person can do. Clearly, such a technology would remove all limits on per-capita gross domestic product, as long as you don't count robots among the capitas. All you need to do is keep raising the ratio of robots to humans, and you get whatever G.D.P. you want.

Now, that's not happening — and in fact, as I understand it, not that much progress has been made in producing machines that think the way we do. But it turns out that there are other ways of producing very smart machines. In particular, Big Data — the use of huge databases of things like spoken conversations — apparently makes it possible for machines to perform tasks that even a few years ago were really only possible for people. Speech recognition is still imperfect, but it is vastly better than it was and it's improving rapidly, not because we've managed to emulate human understanding but because we've found data-intensive ways of interpreting speech in a very nonhuman way. And this means that in a sense we are moving toward something like my intelligent-robots world; many, many tasks are becoming machine-friendly. This in turn means that Mr. Gordon is probably wrong about diminishing returns from technology.

Ah, you ask, but what about the people? Very good question. Smart machines may make higher G.D.P. possible, but they will also reduce the demand for people — including smart people. So we could be looking at a society that grows ever richer, but in which all the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots. And then eventually Skynet decides to kill us all, but that's another story.

Anyway, interesting stuff to speculate about — and not irrelevant to policy, either, since so much of the debate over entitlements is about what is supposed to happen decades from now.

© 2013 The New York Times Company

Truthout has licensed this content. It may not be reproduced by any other source and is not covered by our Creative Commons license.

Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the Op-Ed page and continues as a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University. He was awarded the Nobel in economic science in 2008. Mr Krugman is the author or editor of 20 books and more than 200 papers in professional journals and edited volumes, including "The Return of Depression Economics" (2008) and "The Conscience of a Liberal" (2007).

Copyright 2013 The New York Times.

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“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Contemporary baptized, corporatized and sanitized man rarely has the occasion to question his identity, and when he does a typical response might be, “I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Betty, father of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and a Lutheran.”
His answers imply not only his beliefs but the many responsibilities, rules and restrictions he is subjected to.  Few if any of these were ever negotiated-  they were imposed on him yet he still considers himself free.
But is free the right adjective for him, or would modern domesticated simian be more apt?  He has been told what to do, believe, think and feel since he can remember.  A very clever rancher has bred billions of these creatures around the globe and created the most profitable livestock imaginable.  They work for him, fight for him, die for him, believe his wildest tales, laugh at his jokes and rarely get out of line.  When domesticated man does break one of the rules there are armies, jailers, psychiatrists and bureaucrats prepared to kill, incarcerate, drug or hound the transgressor into submission.

One of the most fascinating aspects of domesticated man’s predicament is that he never looks at the cattle, sheep and pigs who wind up on his plate and make the very simple deduction that he is just a talking version of them, corralled and shepherded through his entire life.  How is this accomplished?  Only animals that live in hierarchical groups can be dominated by man. The trick is to fool the animal into believing that the leader of the pack or herd is the person who is domesticating them.  Once this is accomplished the animal is under full control of its homo sapien master. The domesticated man is no different, originally organized in groups with a clear hierarchy and maximum size of 150-  it was easy to replace the leader of these smaller groups with one overarching figure such as God, King, President, CEO etc.  
The methodology for creating this exceptionally loyal and obedient modern breed, homo domesticus, can be described as having seven pillars from which an immense matrix captures the talking simians and their conscious minds and hooks them into a complex mesh from which few ever escape.  The system is so advanced that those who do untangle themselves and cut their way out of the net are immediately branded as mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers who can’t accept the ‘complexity of modern life’, i.e. conspiracy nuts.
Plato described this brilliantly in his Allegory of the Cave, where people only see man made shadows of objects, institutions, Gods and ideas:
 “--Behold! human beings living in an underground cave...here they have been from their childhood...necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance...the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets... and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall...”
It began with the word, which forever changed the ability of men to manipulate each other.  Before language, every sensation was directly felt through the senses without the filter of words.  But somewhere around 50,000 years ago language began to replace reality and the first pieces of code were put in place for the creation of the Matrix.  As soon as the words began to flow the world was split, and from that fracturing was born man’s angst and slavery.  The words separated us from who we really were, creating the first screen onto which the images from Plato’s cave were cast.  Gurdjieff said it well, “Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself.”
It’s no accident that in Hesiod’s ages of man the Golden Age knew no agriculture, which appeared in the Silver age, and by the time we reach the Bronze age the dominant theme is toil and strife.  The two key elements to the enslavement of man were clearly language and agriculture.  In the hunter gatherer society, taking out the boss was no more complicated than landing a well placed fastball to the head.  Only since the advent of farming was the possibility of creating full time enforcers and propagandists made possible, and hence enslavement inevitable.
The search for enlightenment rarely if ever bears fruits in those temples of words, our schools and universities.  Almost all traditions point to isolation and silence as the only paths to awakening;  they are the true antidotes to modern slavery.  As Aristotle wrote, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”
So from the institution from which we are mercilessly bombarded with words and enslaved to time, we begin our descent through the seven layers of the Matrix.


Education



There are things we are born able to do like eating, laughing and crying and others we pick up without much of an effort such as walking, speaking and fighting, but without strict institutional education there is no way that we can ever become a functioning member of the Matrix. We must be indoctrinated, sent to Matrix boot camp, which of course is school.  How else could you take a hunter and turn him into a corporate slave, submissive to clocks, countless bosses, monotony and uniformity?

Children naturally know who they are, they have no existential angst, but schools immediately begin driving home the point of schedules, rules, lists and grades which inevitably lead the students to the concept of who they aren't.  We drill the little ones until they learn to count money, tell time, measure progress, stand in line, keep silent and endure submission.  They learn they aren't free and they are separated from everyone else and the world itself by a myriad of divides, names and languages.

It can’t be stressed enough how much education is simply inculcating people with the clock and the idea of a forced identity.  What child when she first goes to school isn't taken back to hear herself referred to by her full name?

It’s not as if language itself isn't sufficiently abstract- nothing must be left without a category.  Suzy can’t just be Suzy-  she is a citizen of a country and a state, a member of a religion and a product of a civilization, many of which have flags, mascots, armies, uniforms, currencies and languages.  Once all the mascots, tag lines and corporate creeds are learned, then history can begin to be taught.  The great epic myths invented and conveniently woven into the archetypes which have come down through the ages cement this matrix into the child’s mind.

Even the language that she speaks without effort must be deconstructed for her.  An apple will never again be just an apple-  it will become a noun, a subject, or an object.  Nothing will be left untouched, all must be ripped apart and explained back to the child in Matrixese.

We are taught almost nothing useful during the twelve or so years that we are institutionalized and conditioned for slavery- not how to cook, farm, hunt, build, gather, laugh or play.  We are only taught how to live by a clock and conform to institutionalized behaviors that make for solid careers as slaveocrats. 

Government


In the countries that claim to be democratic the concept of a government created to serve the people is often espoused.  Government, and the laws they create and enforce are institutionalized social control for the benefit of those who have seized power.  This has always been the case and always will be.  In the pre-democratic era it was much clearer to recognize who had power, but the genius of massive democratic states are the layers upon layers of corporatocracy and special interests which so brilliantly conceal the identify of those who really manage the massive apparatus of control.
The functions of the state are so well ensconced in dogmatic versions of history taught in schools that almost no one questions why we need anything beyond the bare essentials of government to maintain order in the post-industrial age.  The history classes never point the finger at the governments themselves as the propagators and instigators of war, genocide, starvation and corruption.  In Hollywood's version of history, the one most people absorb, 'good' governments are always portrayed as fighting 'bad' ones.  We have yet to see a film where all the people on both sides simply disengage from their governments and ignore the calls to violence.

The state apparatus is based on law, which is a contract between the people and an organism created to administer common necessities- an exchange of sovereignty between the people and the state.  This sounds reasonable, but when one looks at the mass slaughters of the 20th century, almost without exception, the perpetrators are the states themselves.
The loss of human freedom is the only birthright offered to the citizens of the modern nation.   There is never a choice.  It is spun as a freedom and a privilege when it is in fact indentured servitude to the state apparatus and the corporatocracy that controls it.

Patriotism is pure abstraction, a completely artificial mechanism of social control.  People are taught to value their compatriots above and beyond those of their own ethnic background, race or religion.  The organic bonds are to be shed in favor of the great corporate state.  From infancy children are indoctrinated like Pavlov’s dogs to worship the paraphernalia of the state and see it as a mystical demigod.
What is a country?  Using the United States as example, what actually is this entity?  Is it the USPS, the FDA, or the CIA?  Does loving one's country mean one should love the IRS and the NSA?  Should we feel differently about someone if they are from Vancouver instead of Seattle?  Loving a state is the same as loving a corporation, except with the corporations there is still no stigma attached to not showing overt sentimental devotion to their brands and fortunately, at least for the moment, we are not obligated at birth to pay them for a lifetime of services, most of which we neither need nor want.
Flags, the Hollywood version of history and presidential worship are drilled into us to maintain the illusion of the 'other' and force the 'foreigner/terrorist/extremist' to wear the stigma of our projections.  The archaic tribal energy that united small bands and helped them to fend off wild beasts and hungry hoards has been converted into a magic wand for the masters of the matrix.  Flags are waved, and we respond like hungry Labradors jumping at a juicy prime rib swinging before our noses.  Sentimental statist propaganda is simply the mouthguard used to soften the jolt of our collective electroshock therapy. 

Religion



As powerful as the patriotic sects are, there has always been a need for something higher.  Religion comes from the Latin 're-ligare' and it means to reconnect.  But reconnect to what?  The question before all religions is, what have we been disconnected from?  The indoctrination and alienation of becoming a card carrying slave has a cost;  the level of abstraction and the disconnect from any semblance of humanity converts people into nihilistic robots.  No amount of patriotic fervor can replace having a soul.  The flags and history lessons can only give a momentary reprieve to the emptiness of the Matrix and that's why the priests are needed.
The original spiritual connection man had with the universe began to dissolve into duality with the onset of language, and by the time cities and standing armies arrived he was in need of a reconnection, and thus we get our faith based religions.  Faith in the religious experiences of sages, or as William James put it, faith in someone else's ability to connect.  Of course the liturgies of our mainstream religions offer some solace and connection, but in general they simply provide the glue for the Matrix.  A brief perusal of the news will clearly show that their 'God' seems most comfortable amidst the killing fields. 
If we focus on the Abrahamic religions, we have a god much like the state, one who needs to be loved.  He is also jealous of the other supposedly non-existent gods and is as sociopathic as the governments who adore him.  He wipes out his enemies with floods and angels of death just as the governments who pander to him annihilate us with cultural revolutions, atom bombs, television and napalm.  Their anthem is, "Love your country, it’s flag, its history, and the God who created it all"-  an ethos force fed to each new generation. 

Circus

The sad thing about circus is that it's generally not even entertaining.  The slaves are told it's time for some fun and they move in hordes to fill stadiums, clubs, cinemas or simply to stare into their electrical devices believing that they are are being entertained by vulgar propaganda.  
As long as homo domesticus goes into the appropriate corral, jumps when she is told to and agrees wholeheartedly that she is having fun, than she is a good slave worthy of her two days off a week and fifteen days vacation at the designated farm where she is milked of any excess gold she might have accumulated during the year.  Once she is too old to work and put to pasture, holes are strategically placed in her vicinity so she and her husband can spend their last few dollars trying to get a small white ball into them.

On a daily basis, after the caffeinated maximum effort has been squeezed out of her, she is placed in front of a screen, given the Matrix approved beverage (alcohol), and re-indoctrinated for several hours before starting the whole cycle over again. God forbid anyone ever took a hallucinogen and had an original thought.  We are, thankfully, protected from any substances that might actually wake us up and are encouraged stick to the booze.   The matrix loves coffee in the morning, alcohol in the evening and never an authentic thought in between.
On a more primal level we are entranced with the contours of the perfect body and dream of ‘perfect love’, where our days will be filled with soft caresses, sweet words and Hollywood drama.   This is maybe the most sublime of the Matrix’s snares, as Venus’s charms can be so convincing one willingly abandons all for her devious promise.  Romantic love is dangled like bait, selling us down the path of sentimentally coated lies and mindless consumerism. 


Money



Money is their most brilliant accomplishment.  Billions of people spend most of their waking lives either acquiring it or spending it without ever understanding what it actually is.  In this hologram of a world, the only thing one can do without money is breath.  For almost every other human activity they want currency, from eating and drinking to clothing oneself and finding a partner. Religion came from innate spirituality and patriotism from the tribe, but money they invented themselves-  the most fantastic and effective of all their tools of domestication.
They have convinced the slaves that money actually has some intrinsic value, since at some point in the past it actually did.  Once they were finally able to disconnect money completely from anything other than their computers, they finally took complete control, locked the last gate and electrified all the fences.  They ingeniously print it up out of the nothing and loan it with interest in order for 18-year-olds to spend four years drinking and memorizing propaganda as they begin a financial indebtedness that will most likely never end.  
By the time the typical American is thirty the debt is mounted so high that they abandon any hope of ever being free of it and embrace their mortgages, credit cards, student loans and car loans as gifts from a sugar daddy.  What they rarely asks themselves is why they must work to make money while banks can simply create it with a few key strokes.  If they printed out notes on their HP's and loaned them with interest to their neighbors, they would wind up in a penitentiary, but not our friends on Wall Street-  they do just that and wind up pulling the strings in the White House.  The  genius of the money scam is how obvious it is.  When people are told that banks create money out of nothing and are paid interest for it the good folks are left incredulous.  “It can't be that simple!"  And therein lies the rub- no one wants to believe that they have been enslaved so easily .
“Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology.”
As Terence loved to say, “Culture is not your friend.”  It exists as a buffer to authentic experience.  As they created larger and larger communities, they replaced the direct spiritual experience of the shaman with priestly religion.  Drum beats and sweat were exchanged for digitized, corporatized noise.  Local tales got replaced by Hollywood blockbusters, critical thinking with academic dogma.
If money is the shackles of the matrix, culture is its operating system.  Filtered, centralized, incredibly manipulative, it glues all their myths together into one massive narrative of social control from which only the bravest of souls ever try to escape.  It's relatively simple to see the manipulation when one looks at patriotism, religion or money.  But when taken as a whole, our culture seems as natural and timeless as the air we breathe, so intertwined with our self conception it is often hard to see where we individually finish and our culture begins.

Escaping the Grip of Control

Some might ask why this all-pervasive network of control isn't talked about or discussed by our ‘great minds’.  Pre-Socratic scholar Peter Kingsley explains it well:
“Everything becomes clear once we accept the fact that scholarship as a whole is not concerned with finding, or even looking for, the truth. That’s just a decorative appearance.  It’s simply concerned with protecting us from truths that might endanger our security; and it does so by perpetuating our collective illusions on a much deeper level than individual scholars are aware of.”

Whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn't a fish.  To leave the ‘water’, or Plato's cave takes courage and the knowledge that there is something beyond the web of control.  Over 2,300 hundred years ago Plato described the process of leaving the Matrix in the Allegory of the Cave as a slow, excruciating process akin to walking out onto a sunny beach after spending years in a basement watching Kabuki.

How can this awakening be explained?  How do you describe the feeling of swimming in the ocean at dusk to someone who has never even seen the sea?  You can't, but what you can do is crack open a window for them and if enough windows are opened, the illusion begins to lose its luster. 

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The most important website last weekend and in weeks to come — on which the hopes and fears of countless Americans are focused (and the President’s poll-ratings depend) – is not HealthCare.gov. It’s Amazon.com.

Even if and when HealthCare.gov works perfectly, relatively few Americans will be affected by it. Only 5 percent of us are in the private health-insurance market to begin with. But almost half of Americans are now shopping for great holiday deals online, and many will be profoundly affected — not because they get great deals, but because their jobs and incomes are at stake.    

Online retailing is the future. Amazon is the main online shopping portal this holiday season but traditional retailers are moving online as fast as they can. Online sales are already up 20 percent over last year, and the pace will only accelerate.Target and many other bricks-and-mortar outlets plan to spend more on technology next year than on building and upgrading new stores.

Americans are getting great deals online, and they like the convenience. But there’s a hidden price. With the growth of online retailing, fewer Americans will have jobs in bricks-and-mortar retail stores.

Amazon announced last summer it would add 5,000 new jobs to the 20,000 it already has. But not even 25,000 Amazon jobs come near to replacing the hundreds of thousands of retail jobs Amazon has already wiped out, and the hundreds of thousands more it will eliminate in the future. 

To put this in some perspective you need to know that retail jobs have been the fastest growing of all job categories since the recession ended in 2009. But given the rapid growth of online retailing, that trend can’t possibly last. What will Americans do when online sales take over?

Add to this the fact that most of what’s being sold this holiday season – online and off-line —  is no longer made by Americans. Vast shipping containers of gadgets, garments, and other goodies are fabricated or assembled or sewed together in Asia for the American market.  

Online retailers are facilitating this move by having these goods shipped directly from Asian factories to distribution centers in America and then to our homes, without ever having to go to an American retail store or even a wholesaler. This means even lower prices and better deals. But it also means fewer jobs and lower pay for many Americans.

Some manufacturing is coming back to America, to be sure, but not the assembly-line jobs that used to be the core of manufacturing employment. Computerized machine tools and robots are doing an increasing portion of the work — which is why many companies can afford to bring their factories back here.

Get it? Technology and globalization are driving the good deals American consumers are getting this holiday season. But the same forces are keeping wages down, and are even on the verge of eliminating many of the low-wage retail and related service jobs many Americans now need to make ends meet.

To put it another way, American consumers getting great shopping deals are also American workers on the losing end of those same deals.

The biggest reason holiday shopping is especially frenzied this season is so many Americans are already stretched to the breaking point that they’re more desperate than ever for bargains. Sixty-five percent of today’s shoppers are living paycheck-to-paycheck. That’s up from 61 percent last year, according to consumer research by Booz and Company.

Median household income in America continues to drop, adjusted for inflation, because low-wage jobs are the major ones available. Lower-wage occupations accounted for only 21 percent of job losses during the Great Recession. They’ve accounted for 58 percent of all job growth since then.

The President’s dropping poll-ratings are only partly due to the bumbling roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. The computer glitches at HealthCare.gov aren’t the most important reason why Americans are grumpy this holiday season. The bigger problem is the economy remains lousy for most people.

Technology and globalization are taking over more and more American jobs. There’s no easy fix for this, and it’s hardly the President’s fault. But the sobering reality is the United States has no national strategy for creating more good jobs in America. Until we do, more and more Americans will be chasing great deals that come largely at their own expense.

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Al-Jazeera – 28 November 2013

There are many things to fear in Gaza: Attacks from Israel’s Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, the coastal enclave’s growing isolation, the regular blackouts from power shortages, increasingly polluted drinking water and rivers of sewage flooding the streets.

Meanwhile, for most Palestinians in Gaza the anxiety-inducing soundtrack to their lives is the constant buzz of the remotely piloted aircraft – better known as “drones” – that hover in the skies above.

Drones are increasingly being used for surveillance and extra-judicial execution in parts of the Middle East, especially by the US, but in nowhere more than Gaza has the drone become a permanent fixture of life. More than 1.7 million Palestinians, confined by Israel to a small territory in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, are subject to near continual surveillance and intermittent death raining down from the sky.

There is little hope of escaping the zenana – an Arabic word referring to a wife’s relentless nagging that Gazans have adopted to describe the drone’s oppressive noise and their feelings about it. According to statistics compiled by human rights groups in Gaza, civilians are the chief casualties of what Israel refers to as “surgical” strikes from drones.

“When you hear the drones, you feel naked and vulnerable,” said Hamdi Shaqura, deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, based in Gaza City. “The buzz is the sound of death. There is no escape, nowhere is private. It is a reminder that, whatever Israel and the international community assert, the occupation has not ended. We are still living completely under Israeli control. They control the borders and the sea and they decide our fates from their position in the sky,” said Shaqura.

The Israeli military did not respond to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.

Suffer the children

The sense of permanent exposure, coupled with the fear of being mistakenly targeted, has inflicted deep psychological scars on civilians, especially children, according to experts.

“There is a great sense of insecurity. Nowhere feels safe for the children, and they feel no one can offer them protection, not even their parents,” said Ahmed Tawahina, a psychologist running clinics in Gaza as part of the Community Mental Health Programme. “That traumatises both the children and parents, who feel they are failing in their most basic responsibility.”

Shaqura observed: “From a political perspective, there is a deep paradox. Israel says it needs security, but it demands it at the cost of our constant insecurity.”

There are no statistics that detail the effect of the drones on Palestinians in Gaza. Doctors admit it is impossible to separate the psychological toll inflicted by drones from other sources of damage to mental health, such as air strikes by F-16s, severe restrictions on movement and the economic insecurity caused by Israel’s blockade.

But field researchers working for Palestinian rights groups point out that the use of drones is intimately tied to these other sources of fear and anxiety. Drones fire missiles themselves, they guide attacks by F-16s or helicopters, and they patrol and oversee the borders.

A survey in medical journal The Lancet following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s month-long attack on Gaza in winter 2008-09, found large percentages of children suffered from symptoms of psychological trauma: Fifty-eight percent permanently feared the dark; 43 percent reported regular nightmares; 37 percent wet the bed and 42 percent had crying attacks.

Tawahina described the sense of being constantly observed as a “form of psychological torture, which exhausts people’s mental and emotional resources. Among children at school, this can be seen in poor concentration and unruly behaviour.” The trauma for children is compounded by the fact that the drones also disrupt what should be their safest activity – watching TV at home. When a drone is operating nearby, it invariably interferes with satellite reception.

“”It doesn’t make headlines, but it is another example of how there is no escape from the drones. Parents want their children indoors, where it feels safer and where they’re less likely to hear the drones, but still the drone finds a way into their home. The children cannot even switch off from the traumas around them by watching TV because of the drones.”

Israel’s ‘major advantage’

Israel developed its first drones in the early 1980s, during its long occupation of south Lebanon, to gather aerial intelligence without exposing Israeli pilots to anti-aircraft missiles. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, said drones help in situations where good, on-the-ground intelligence is lacking. “What the UAV gives you is eyes on the other side of the hill or over the border,” he said. “That provides Israel with a major advantage over its enemies.”

Other Israeli analysts have claimed that the use of drones, with their detailed intelligence-collecting abilities, is justified because they reduce the chances of errors and the likelihood of “collateral damage” – civilian deaths – during attacks.

But, according to Inbar, the drone is no better equipped than other aircraft for gathering intelligence or carrying out an execution.

“The advantage from Israel’s point of view is that using a drone for these tasks reduces the risk of endangering a pilot’s life or losing an expensive plane. That is why we are moving towards much greater use of these kinds of robots on the battlefield,” he said.

‘Mistakes can happen’

According to Gaza human rights group al-Mezan, Israel started using drones over the territory from the start of the second intifada in 2000, but only for surveillance.

Israel’s first extra-judicial executions using drones occurred in 2004, when two Palestinians were killed. But these operations greatly expanded after 2006, in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal of settlers and soldiers from Gaza and the rise to power of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.

Drones, the front-line weapon in Israel’s surveillance operations and efforts to foil rocket attacks, killed more than 90 Palestinians in each of the years 2006 and 2007, according to al-Mezan. The figures soared during Operation Cast Lead and in its aftermath, with 461 Palestinians killed by drones in 2009. The number peaked again with 199 deaths in 2012, the year when Israel launched the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defence against Gaza.

Despite Israeli claims that the intelligence provided by drones makes it easier to target those Palestinians it has defined as “terrorists”, research shows civilians are the main victims. In the 2012 Pillar of Defence operation, 36 of the 162 Palestinians killed were a result of drone strikes, and a further 100 were injured by drones. Of those 36 killed, two-thirds were civilians.

Also revealing was a finding that, although drones were used in only five percent of air strikes, they accounted for 23 percent of the total deaths during Pillar of Defence. According to the Economist magazine, the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari, which triggered that operation, was carried out using a Hermes 450 drone.

Palestinian fighters report that they have responded to the constant surveillance by living in hiding, rarely going outdoors and avoiding using phones or cars. It is a way of life not possible for most people in Gaza.

Gaza’s armed groups are reported to be trying to find a way to jam the drones’ navigation systems. In the meantime, Hamas has claimed it has shot down three drones, the latest this month, though Israel says all three crashed due to malfunctions.

Last week, on the anniversary of the launch of Pillar of Defence, an Israeli commander whose soldiers control the drones over Gaza from a base south of Tel Aviv told the Haaretz newspaper that “many” air strikes during the operation had involved drones. “Lt Col Shay” was quoted saying: “Ultimately, we are at war. As much as the IDF strives to carry out the most precise surgical strikes, mistakes can happen in the air or on the ground.”

Random death by drone

It is for this reason that drones have become increasingly associated with random death from the sky, said Samir Zaqout, a senior field researcher for Al-Mezan.

“We know from the footage taken by drones that Israel can see what is happening below in the finest detail. And yet women and children keep being killed in drone attacks. Why the continual mistakes? The answer, I think, is that these aren’t mistakes. The message Israel wants to send us is that there is no protection whether you are a civilian or fighter. They want us afraid and to make us turn on the resistance [Palestinian fighters].”

Zaqout also points to a more recent use of drones – what has come to be known as “roof-knocking”. This is when a drone fires small missiles at the roof of a building to warn the inhabitants to evacuate – a practice Israel developed during Operation Cast Lead three years earlier, to allay international concerns about its repeated levellings of buildings with civilians inside.

In Pillar of Defence in 2012, 33 buildings were targeted by roof-knocking.

Israel says it provides 10 minutes’ warning from a roof-knock to an air strike, but, in practice, families find they often have much less time. This, said Zaqout, puts large families in great danger as they usually send their members out in small groups to be sure they will not be attacked as they move onto the streets.

One notorious case occurred during Cast Lead, when six members of the Salha family, all women and children, were killed when their home was shelled moments after a roof-knocking. The father, Fayez Salha, who survived, lost a case for damages in Israel’s Supreme Court last February and was ordered to pay costs after the judges ruled that the attack was legitimate because it occurred as part of a military operation.

A US citizen who has lived long-term in Gaza, who wished not be named for fear of reprisals from Israel, said she often heard the drones at night when the street noise dies down, or as they hover above her while out walking. “The sound is like the buzz of a mosquito, although there is one type of drone that sometimes comes into view that is silent,” she said.

She added that she knew of families that, before moving into a new apartment building, checked to see whether it housed a fighter or a relative of a fighter, for fear that the building may be attacked by Israel.

Shaqura said the drones inevitably affect one’s day-to-day behaviour. He said he was jogging early one morning while a drone hovered overhead.

“I got 100 metres from my front door when I started to feel overwhelmed with fear. I realised that my tracksuit was black, the same colour as many of the fighters’ uniforms. I read in my work too many reports of civilians being killed by drones not to see the danger. So I hurried back home.”

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