Regulating Killer Robots On The Battlefield - InformationWeek

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12/30/2013
11:50 AM
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Regulating Killer Robots On The Battlefield

Human rights groups want to ban autonomous weapons.

Human rights groups are calling for a ban on autonomous battlefield robots, raising larger questions about the ethics of robots from the battlefield to eldercare.

Steve Ranger on TechRepublic reports that governments that are part of the Convention on Certain conventional Weapons (CCW) plan to meet in Geneva next year to "discuss the issues related to so-called 'lethal autonomous weapons systems,' or what campaigners have dubbed 'killer robots.'"

I had my eyes opened to the potential for battlefield robots in P.W. Singer's 2009 book Wired for War. He makes a strong case that robots and drones are transforming the nature of warfare in the way that the invention of gunpowder and planes did. War is a fundamental human activity; most nations are fighting a war, building up their defenses, or recovering from a war most of the time. War has broad ramifications for civilian society, from fashion to the Internet itself (fundamental development of which was funded by the US Department of Defense).

Everybody knows about drones, but few people are aware of how deeply fundamental the technology is to America's wars. That was true in 2009, and I expect it's even more true today.

Read the rest of this story on Internet Evolution.

 

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asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2013 | 9:34:05 PM
Another multibillion dollar boondoggle for the pentagon
The biggest worry is that when the killer robot screws up, the commander will be blamed and this won't be fair? The fundamental component of a society's humanity should be rightfully called into question by this kind of utter depravity and cruelty. We have met the enemy, and, he is us.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2013 | 6:32:12 AM
Good point
I'm not sure an outright ban is necessary, as you could easily see autonomous robots carrying away wounded or bringing up equipment, but it seems like sending out fully automatic machines with control of weaponry is just asking for trouble. 
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2013 | 2:55:31 PM
Better idea...
They should probably just ban war.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/1/2014 | 10:07:01 AM
Re: Better idea...
We're actually moving slowly towards that. Ironically, considering the 20th century had two of the most devastating wars ever, it was actually a relatively safe century to live in. 
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
1/1/2014 | 10:48:42 AM
Re: Another multibillion dollar boondoggle for the pentagon
What is the point of fighting these drone wars? This sounds like something out of a movie. In fact, isn't there a Star Wars movie called the Drone Wars?
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/1/2014 | 4:58:40 PM
Re: Another multibillion dollar boondoggle for the pentagon
It does sound like something from a sci-fi movie, doesn't it. I also worry about one of these drones going rogue, especially if its automated.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
1/1/2014 | 7:44:20 PM
My robot can beat up your robot
Wouldn't it be great if the robots could just fight it out, and the soldiers could just sit in the stadium drinking beer, betting on the outcome and cheering on their side? It would be a war without blood or gore. Full employment for engineers, Massive profits for industry. Spinoffs to peaceful industry that we can't even yet imagine. Angry, aggressive little countries wouldn't vie for nuclear weapons, they'd want more capable robots. Robots - bring 'em on!
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
1/2/2014 | 2:14:51 AM
Re: Better idea...
Sorry, but I don't actually think we're moving towards that at all. I was being a bit sarcastic, as if banning things makes much sense in light of what war is. It's worth a try, but only really works with 'civil' wars... as if that isn't an oxymoron. But, it takes a certain backdrop for there to be these 'civil' wars, which is quickly eroding. I'm not opposed to trying... I just thought the concept was a bit silly in light of the subject matter.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
1/2/2014 | 2:16:51 AM
Re: My robot can beat up your robot
Except for when the winning armies robots break through.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
1/2/2014 | 3:16:23 AM
Fundamental wars?
"War is a fundamental human activity; most nations are fighting a war, building up their defenses, or recovering from a war most of the time."

Mitch,

A fundamental human activity?! Fundamental for what?

One would have thought that by this year 2014 wars would be only found in history books and some movies. What has humanity learned in all these centuries of "fundamental wars"? :/

-Susan
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