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?
WHY THE UNITED NATIONS IS TALKING ABOUT KILLER ROBOTS
May 13, 2014
By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
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.
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.
"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."
Herein lies the insanity- that we could somehow justify killing a child or baby, even after hesitation. I believe it speaks volumes about how our civilization is still in the throes of our primitive past, where violence remains the final option. We remain neanderthals.
It is not insanity. Are you unaware of the amount of terrorists who actually utilize pregnant women and children to harm our own men?! I would MUCH RATHER see a pregnant woman die than to see a family member of my own suffer the pain and consequence in that woman & childs life. Maybe I am just very selfish...but this is my opinion and unfortunately I could care less what others say about it. This is a discussion after all.
Keep in mind, war is suppose to be bloody and horrific. We can't solve anything with unicorns and butterflies.
Hey, aren't you forgetting that all too often the terrorists use women and children as human shields. Ultimately, convincing them that we won't let them gain any safety by doing that will likely have them doing it less in the future.
Hey, aren't you forgetting that all too often the terrorists use women and children as human shields.
It does seem to come up a lot.
Seriously, children and pregnant women are more at risk if robots are used instead of less discriminant, mass destruction? I don't think so! That sounds totally absurd and corruptive to constructive conversation to me.
What if drones and robots could be used to help free school girls from captivity or slavery in Nigeria, or operate in chemical warfare zones in Syria, and so on? Is it reasonable to declare that intelligent machines have NO useful purpuse, unless what, we throw in few of our own humans to suffer for some kind of moral balance?
Unmanned vehicles/machines definitely have their purpose in our modern world. My concern is that programmed machines are indiscriminate once they achieve 'target acquisition.' Artificial intelligence does not possess the capability to completely and accurately survey a target and make decisions that are outside the realm of it's programming. The result is that the mistaken or undeserving target is classified as collateral damage or a programming error. War should remain vicious and barbaric to remind us of it's need to be eliminated as a tool for solving problems between humans. As technological warfare becomes more antiseptic and sterile we are removing ourselves from the actual horrors of the process.
War should remain vicious and barbaric to remind us of it's need to be eliminated as a tool for solving problems between humans. As technological warfare becomes more antiseptic and sterile we are removing ourselves from the actual horrors of the process.
I think a lot of people would agree with me that making war antiseptic and sterile does nothing to make it less vicious and barbaric.
From the perspective of the casualty it remains horrific. The guy operating the joystick, sucking on a Coke in a military control room, not so much.
Sure, but if the American military can move most of the death and suffering to the other side, that would be their duty to do.