April 4th, 2011
04:52 PM ET

Last Look: War of the machines?

Afghanistan is a country where you might be hard pressed to find a working elevator, but if the latest numbers are right, you could have a good chance of running into a robot - that is, if you're on the front lines.

Our latest video shows what might be the latest in a line of increasingly used robots on the combat field. As Fareed says:

According to the Marine Corps robotics guru, there are now more than 2,000 robots being used to fight back the enemy in Afghanistan. That's one out of 50 troops in that country. There are, of course, robots to detect bombs, to disarm bombs and to dispose of them, but also a robot whose main job is to get shot at.

And now this might be the newest robot of all. It goes by the very creative name of X-47B, sort of like R2-D2, and looks like a cross between a stealth fighter and drone. And it is that. But it's also much more. It requires almost no human interaction. It can take off and land by itself. Current drones require pilots, often thousands of miles away to complete those tasks for them by remote control.

The X-47B is even said to be able to take off and land itself on the rolling deck of an aircraft carrier. It will be able to find its target by itself. The only thing it needs a carbon-based life form for is to let it know it's OK to drop the bomb.

Automated combat hasn't quite yet reached the apocalyptic vision of man vs. machines that James Cameron envisioned in his Terminator films. And while they may have conquered chess and Jeopardy, it could still be some time before robots truly control the battle field.

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Topics: Afghanistan • GPS Show • Last Look • Military

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