Monday, 13 April 2015
Human Rights Groups Call for Ban of Killer Robots, BY LAUREN WALKER
Human Rights Groups Call for Ban of Killer Robots
Rapid technological innovation has revolutionized warfare; it has pulled soldiers away from war’s front lines and gradually replaced them with advanced weaponry. Drones, for instance, covertly strike targets around the globe as their operators safely elsewhere. But humanity is now on the cusp of developing “killer robots,” or fully autonomous weapons capable of killing without operators, and human rights defenders want them banned.
While Docherty concedes that machines are able to think faster than humans, she doesn’t think this is necessarily a good thing. A robot could carry out an unlawful act before a human could prevent it, for instance. Without the human ability to differentiate between a combatant and civilian, she adds, these weapons could actually endanger soldiers.
Docherty also rejects the idea that the technology would save soldiers’ lives. By further removing soldiers from war, she says, it becomes politically easier for countries to go to war and increases the likelihood of conflict. “Other weapons, including remote-controlled drones, also separate soldiers from the battlefield,” she added. “While people have their own concerns about those, that’s another technology that would have the same protecting affect.”
The authors for a prohibition on “the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.” The report recommends an outright ban rather than regulation because once the technology is in existence, states will be tempted to use them. And one stocked arsenal is the gateway to the weapon’s proliferation and a never-ending arms race.