ERADUCATE

Enemy Recognition And Destruction Using Combat Automation Technical Enhancements

The troops simply call it ERAD. It evolved from a LEGO kit coupled with a smartphone that could solve Rubik’s cube in 5 seconds. That was the simple base, you had optical input and processing power in the smartphone, the rest was put together with the omnifitting LEGO parts and servo motors.

From that POC it was easy to adapt it to a similar task. A new LEGO construct was built, but this time it could handle a PS4 hand control. It was ten times faster than any human in manouvering the joysticks, buttons and triggers on the control. And it was still just built from toys, a LEGO kit bought from Toys”R”Us for less than 100 Euros left enough parts over for the kids to have fun over the whole weekend.

Add to that the camera input. First it was the smartphone watching a TV screen but it was easy enough to feed the video directly from the game console to the raspberry Pi that would do the fighting.

The hard part was the programming. A Rubik’s cube in video imaging terms is 3×3 pixels, total 9 pixels. Very easy to read for almost anything not being an olm (Proteus anguinus.) Going from there to 1080×1920 (more than two millions) pixels is quite a challenge if you also want not only to distinguish between six different colours but also recognise an enemy amongst a lot of disturbing features in the current display. The current display by the way, it shifts at least 30 times per second. In the upper league they shift 60 times per second.

So, the algorithms for detecting an enemy within a 97% accuracy has to be godlike. It’s not that you feel sorry for any trashbin you kill by mistake. It’s rather that you expose yourself when you shoot, and you also want to keep ammo for the real enemies. Be aware that this reasoning apply to game playing: Later on, when we’re talking real bullets and real people, the priorities may be different.

However, godlike programming is achievable for humans too. Five years after the Rubik’s Cube Robot, the main part of all FPS shooter games was conducted by LEGO robots while the human ”players” just watched.

The market for interfacing robots with consoles expanded together with the software running the things. Hardcore games regressed to letting the camera watch the screen again, no direct feed from console to combat computer. But even with dim light and a vase with flowers obscuring the view the software was way better that any human.

Now comes the scary part. Wars are not only running in the game consoles, and paranoid nations (there are a lot of them) had been following the evolution in the gaming world. Replacing a hand control with a real gun is a piece of cake. Replacing the LEGO parts for custom made metal parts is equally easy. The algorithms for enemy detection was accessible to the world, and the paranoid nations had resources to enhance them.

Thus, ERADUCATE. As long as the algorithms are running on an equal level the only way to winnning a fight is to have more ammo than the enemy. If you have enough ammo you just have to lower the 97% accuracy, remember that limit? -It is the one that separates the enemy from the ”disturbing features” such as civilians and trashbins.

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