And they want the robots to have...brains.
The Chinese government is pushing mass production of humanoid robots — and apparently wants it done on an astoundingly rapid timetable.
As the South China Morning Post reports, the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has issued a nine-page advisory calling on the country's manufacturing sector to "establish a humanoid robot innovation system, make breakthroughs in several key technologies and ensure the safe and effective supply of core components" by 2025, and to become the global leader in the tech by 2027.
Sure, no biggie, right?
The MIIT is specifically looking for the industry to develop — bear in mind there may be some translation issues here — the "brain," "cerebellum," and "limbs" of humanoid robots, which according to the SCMP will be aided by recent leaps in artificial intelligence capabilities.
The ministry also called for these robots to be usable in "harsh" and dangerous conditions, though neither the newspaper nor a translation of the advisory viewed by Futurism spelled out what kind of conditions Beijing is talking about. But the country's past forays into the deployment of firefighting and police robots suggests this may be more infrastructural and less military than some jingoists may warn.
That said, both the United States and China have been racing to create so-called killer robot warships and fighter jets to menace each other. But when it comes to humanoid robotic soldiers — and, even more freakishly, integrated robot-human soldiers — the US still likely has a major edge over Beijing.
Back in 2014, reports even emerged that the US Army was looking into replacing human soldiers with autonomous ones in the coming years, though nearly a decade on we haven't seen much in the way of robo-fighters being deployed onto actual battlefields just yet.
Unlike their hoo-ah American counterparts, China acknowledged in the advisory that to get to the level of mass production they're seeking, humanoid robot tech must be "significantly improved" so that "a safe and reliable industrial supply chain system will be formed an industrial ecology with international competitiveness will be constructed."
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