Cyber Cosmonaut Raises "Terminator" Concerns

June 6, 2017

Russia’s Fedor robot is ready to board the International Space Station in 2021—but is it safe?

Fedor is six feet tall, weighs around 230 pounds, can lift objects up to 44 pounds and can shoot two guns using both “hands.” The Russian humanoid robot unveiled last year by the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects, the country's military research arm, is to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to assist Russian cosmonauts by performing tasks too dangerous for humans.

But the fact that Fedor (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) is learning to shoot guns with both arms has some folks worried we may be up against a real-life “Terminator.”

According to an article in Tech Times, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who called Fedor a “Russian fighting robot,” the country is not creating a Terminator, but is leveraging its gun-wielding dexterity to improve the robot’s motor and decision-making skills.

But folks are reminded of Stephen Hawking’s warning that we are inserting so much artificial intelligence into these systems that it could mean trouble for humans in the future. That’s sparked a European proposal to incorporate a “kill switch” that could remotely shut down—even terminate—the robot.

Fedor can be remotely controlled, as well as work autonomously to operate a drill, screw in a light bulb, open a door and even drive a car. Let’s just hope Fedor truly is a friend not foe.