The United Nations is working on a preventative ban on “Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems,” machines that can kill without human operators, and the United States and United Kingdom are delaying this ban in hopes of gaining a military edge.
Weapons that can work autonomously are clearly dangerous. They are essentially killer robots that we are sending into battle. We cannot allow the decision to kill to be left in the hands of a machine. There will be no human judgment, and therefore no cognitive judgment, of those the machine will be killing. This will also lead to a greater lack of accountability for the military. We would be deciding who is at fault for any casualties that occur, and we would have to blame the robots, which is an unacceptable solution. These robots will not keep us safer, but instead create a whole new idea of the risk of war.
The decision for a ban on autonomous weapons needs to be swift, as research and money are pouring into the production of these machines. If the autonomous weapons get through without a ban, there will be no telling how far these weapons could reach. There is potential for them to become a tool used in our government for policing. We do not want to be under the control of a killing robot, nor do we want other countries to be under this control.
There needs to be a ban now to not only prevent technology on these weapons from infiltrating our military, but also to stop any current technology of the like to slip by a future ban.
Source: Nadia Prupis, “As Experts Push for ‘Killer Robot’ Ban, UK and US Stand in the Way,” Common Dreams, October 6, 2015, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/10/06/experts-push-killer-robot-ban-uk-and-us-stand-way.
Student Researcher: Kassie Crawford (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Robert McNamara (Sonoma State University)