A United Nations conference is seeking to ban autonomous killing machines. Basically, this refers to killer robots that make their own battlefield decisions, which would make war absolutely impersonal. The idea is that if someone is going to be killed, it should always ultimately be a human decision, not one made by a CPU.

If the past is to be a guide, just about every technology with lethal possibilities has been developed, not necessarily to be better than the enemy but to be on a par with them. 

Take a look at the following article, and then what are your thoughts?


May 13, 2014
Digital Reporter

Is it time to stop the Terminator in its tracks?

Some of the best and brightest leaders are meeting for a United Nations conference in Geneva, Switzerland, today to discuss what future threat killer robots could pose to the world, just like the part-man, part-machine cyborg that Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the Terminator film series.

Killer robots, or "lethal autonomous weapons systems" (LAWS) are machines that would be able to select their targets without direct human mediation. They don't fully exist yet, however the dystopian idea has led to the first-ever meeting on the issue.

"I urge delegates to take bold action," Michael Møller, acting director-general of the United Nations office in Geneva, told attendees, according to a United Nations statement. "All too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened. You have the opportunity to take pre-emptive action and ensure that the ultimate decision to end life remains firmly under human control."

Among the issues that will be addressed at the meeting are what levels of autonomy and predictability exist in robots and a future look at the next steps in robotic technology, according to an agenda.

A Human Rights Watch report issued on the eve of the meeting said the fully autonomous weapons systems could also "undermine human dignity." In 2010, South Korean officials announced the installation of several semi-autonomous robotic machine guns along its border with North Korea.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which describes itself as an international coalition of non-governmental organizations working to ban fully autonomous weapons, live tweeted some of the discussion today in Geneva, where a slew of government representatives shared their thoughts and concerns.

Ronald Arkin, a roboticist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said he supports the "call for a moratorium" on the weapons, but told the attendees today he believes a ban would be premature, according to tweets about his presentation.

"It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield," Arkin said in 2007, according to the Washington Post. "But I am convinced that they can perform more ethically than human soldiers."

Later this year, the group plans to reconvene to discuss what action, if any, should be taken against the robots ... or if we're safe from them taking over the world, for now.

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I quess if they put it that way, would there ever be a time when 'war' does not make sense? I don't really want to impose my 'will' on another all the time, and even if it does come up, it just does not seem all that important all the time. I quess if your point is 'empire' and exploitation of others for slavery, war and violence would be the only tool left to you. When violence becomes easy, with lots of new tools of death, and training under used, and the addiction to violence unfeed, surely war would be attractive.

I think I am only a little sarcastic on this point... 

I keep my own killer robot in a locked shoebox on the top shelf of my closet. It is my constitutional right you see.

Watch an episode of 'Vikings' on the History Channel and consider that all wars should only be fought in hand to hand engagement. The grotesque horror of maiming, decapitating, and eviscerating the enemy should remain at the forefront of everyone's psyche. As we move into the sterile impersonal mode of technological warfare we lose contact with the absurd realities of our civilization's greatest scourge. Mankind continues to find ever new ways to kill one another and destroy it's habitat. 

I think 'WAR!' should be ugly, brutal, etc.

It is already bad enough that we can fly drones with full weapons from thousands of miles away, sitting in rather comfortable seating, maybe even with a coke in your hand!

Pretending that 'WAR!' can be redeemed by some new 'sanitation' technology, such as robots, as long as you have an 'authorization', from some government clown with even less connection the reality of  the reality of 'WAR!', should sicken us to the core!

This seems to remind me of an old Star Trek show, where two cultures 'duke' it out via automated systems with only war games to drive it. The poor souls on either side, walking quietly to their deaths by way of disintegrator booths! No fuss, no muss, nice and clean, and they do this for 500 years? Better to have one, all out sickening moment of 'DEATH!' than live this way as cattle. Their point was that 'at least we can preserve our cultures and way of life', but sadly they never seem to consider the social cost of pointless arbitrary death.

What happens to the 'meaning of life', when it is reduced to some war game, its just entertainment!

We never have to face the 'reality' of an ugliness we enter into willingly, why?  

We never have to face the 'reality' of an ugliness we enter into willingly, why?  

You really have to ask? It's because we dislike seeing our sons (and, increasingly, daughters) coming home in a box with a flag draped over it. Because we hate seeing some of the ones who survive come home missing limbsn or with a metal plate in their head and unable to speak or think straight. 

War is inevitably an "us vs them" thing because there are real differences and differentials between countries, cultures, and peoples, as well as a desire or need for resources held by someone else. 

The main thing to know about war is that you don't want to be on the losing side.

Is there a 'winning side'?

Sure. The US tends not to rub it in (look at how MacArthur helped Japan rebuild after WW2), but usually the losing side ends up being in far worse shape. The cost may be great on both sides, but generally speaking you don't want to lose a war.

America's most recent atrocity was killing 100+k Iraqis for no (long term) good reason. Advanced drones may have been able to have cut that down to 10k. Intentional ignorance of civilian casualties was already at an inhumane level. Political motives and gloosy-eyed idealism about imposed democracy is what unleashed our mass destruction abroad. Drones are not used for demonstrations of shock and awe.

Long-term goals are accomplished through short-term victories.



Robocop!!! This is exactly what this reminds me of and evidently I've been so ignorant about the actuality of this possible happening. I feel that with the technology we have and the brains of super genius'....maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea.

If someone tried to start a war or continue a war...why send a human being over who is loved, needed, wanted, has emotional attachments and is capable of producing life. Robots, unless taboo is happening, are incapable of doing such things that humans can.

Robots, without emotion, act upon what they're programmed to do, Without hesitation! If we, as humans with emotions and guilt being one of them, are put in a predicament to kill a child or a baby, or to shoot a pregnant woman to defend ourselves ..... We'd hesitate. Robots don't see these possible enemies as such...they just dictate what is what and act upon it.

Robots could kill more cleanly, by which I mean fewer injuries, more deaths. More efficiency would mean less dying and more death. In other words, instead of mortally wounding you and leaving you to die in agony, a machine could find the right way and moment to deal a totally effective blow to kill you with little or no suffering. Life is great for the side with the robots.

Then...the other side gets robots. Better robots. They knock out your robots and come for you.


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