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Should 'killer robots' be banned ?

Posted on Thursday, 22 November, 2012 | Comment icon 46 comments

Image credit: Northrop Grumman

A human rights organisation has called for the complete ban of autonomous robotic weapon platforms.

As robots become more advanced, armed forces are finding new ways to turn them in to automated weapons for use in dangerous combat zones. While we're still a long way from the killer cyborgs of the Terminator movies series, concerns are being raised over the potential for future robots to be given full autonomy in deciding what constitutes a viable target. Nicknamed 'killer robots', such weapons platforms would be so dangerous that a blanket ban on their usage has already been suggested.

"Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield would take technology too far," said Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch. "Human control of robotic warfare is essential to minimizing civilian deaths and injuries."

"Governments should pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons because of the danger they pose to civilians in armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #37 Posted by DieChecker on 26 November, 2012, 21:18
I'm voting YES on robot soldiers, but NO on higher autonomous functions. A human needs to be in the Loop to say "Yes, that target needs to be hit.". Personnally I think it will eventually get much worse... maybe with Robot Soldier operations outsourcing to India, Brazil, or some such place. "Blam! Blam! Blam! .... Thank you, come again." Seriously though, the Romans eventually had to oursource their militarys, and eventually the US will too. Then we're totally skrewed. I saw an article the other day that the Average... average, PC or Console gamer is t... [More]
Comment icon #38 Posted by FlyingAngel on 26 November, 2012, 23:22
Like ordering shooting all targets that wear black and green soldier uniform? Oh wait, there are babies and women that wear black and green clothes too. It's still can be blamed for malfunction, like ordering to shoot target A but it shoots B instead.
Comment icon #39 Posted by DieChecker on 27 November, 2012, 2:39
You must not be talking to me. I was clear in that I said HUMANS should be reponsible for the trigger pull. If babies are being killed then it is a soldier somewhere showing bad discression, not a computer program. This is why our Boys in Afghanistan are always getting shot at, with few shots fired back. They can't shoot back unless they can see a enemy target. Only the more Anti-Gun people still believe our soldiers and government agencies are just shooting at everything that moves.
Comment icon #40 Posted by marcos anthony toledo on 27 November, 2012, 15:09
Dalaks, Cylons anyone we already have problems with trigger happly vedio game soldiers who think they are playing war games killing innocent civilians around the world this would only make this problem worse than it is this program must be stop whide there still time for the sake of our desendants safety.
Comment icon #41 Posted by -M7 on 28 November, 2012, 0:43
This topic is substantially arguable. Perhaps its because of our lack of complete understanding of cyberspace.
Comment icon #42 Posted by DieChecker on 28 November, 2012, 1:51
Daleks are actually octopus like critters inside a trashcan shaped suit of power armor.
Comment icon #43 Posted by FlyingAngel on 28 November, 2012, 12:57
Good in theory but not in practice. The view range of robots are limited. You can probably step on babies or children without knowing it. Humans have ears that could detect who's attacking behind. If controlling a robot is just about a screen, a speaker and a mouse to shoot like in video games, then there's nothing good about it excepts that it has an armor and the soldier is not actually there. It's still too easy to kill a robot. Once the enemies know the weak point, what's left of a robot is a piece of metal. Because every robot looks the same, it's impossible to dete... [More]
Comment icon #44 Posted by DieChecker on 28 November, 2012, 21:45
That is a perfectly logical opinon and stance. Personnally, I just value an American life more then I would even a civilian in a nation that is at war with us. If the civilians of a nation at war with the US don't like casulaties, they should rise up and remove their government. Your points are only engineering issues, not true problems. Sensors can be improved. Reflexes can be improved. Accuracy and targetting systems can be improved. Video game players are more then trained enough to fight remotely with complete trust in their actions. It is the technology of field robots that needs ... [More]
Comment icon #45 Posted by CuriousGreek on 3 December, 2012, 16:32
Yeah, but sometime robots might stop being defenseless and they might try to take control over the world (wanting to rule humans and everything on this planet). People have feelings too, but you see everyday what is happening in the world. Robots must be used to help Humanity, not destroying it and i'm afraid that it might someday happen, if they're given complete freedom.
Comment icon #46 Posted by DieChecker on 3 December, 2012, 21:47
Making a robot autonomus is different from giving a robot Free Will. It would be a robot with free will that would be dangerous, as it would make its own decisions based on experience, and the ethics and morals it developes from those experiences. An autonomus robot is just like a car building robot that exactly follows software commands. There is no driver, but there is also no choices. A = red, which leads to firing a rocket. B = blue, which leads to locking safetys on all ordinance. And so on. A robot with free will would decide on its own, based on thousands of variables... not compared to... [More]

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