The ghost of a religion story comes in the form of a cliche in Tim Weiner‘s NYT story about the automation of the U.S. Army: “Trusting robots with potentially lethal decision-making may require a leap of faith in technology not everyone is ready to make.” Indeed. But one doesn’t need the word “faith” to read it between the lines throughout this strange story of true believers in a utopian vision of… robot killers? Have these people never seen a sci-fi movie? Don’t they know where this all leads? “‘The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against robots making life-or-death decisions,'” says the chief of the government’s robot army development team. Wonder how religious conservatives, fond of something they like to call “natural law,” will deal with that? Also, in a purely worldly vein, it should be noted that one of the graphics the Times uses to illustrate this story is so misrepresentative as to make us wonder if a super smart killer robot didn’t hack in and add it to the story itself. The graphic contrasts a soldier — lifetime “cost” estimated at $4 million — with that of one of the robots (comic book acronym: S.W.O.R.D.), estimated to cost $230,000. Right — that thing isn’t going to need any upkeep for 20 years? There’s also the consideration that the $4 mil for the soldier includes 20 years of wages, which then move through the economy. The $230 k for every S.W.O.R.D. will be considerably more centralized — in the pockets of its manufacturer. So much for the ownership society. At least we’ll have cool acronyms.