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Robotics The Military Technology

Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do? 514

Lasrick writes "Mark Gubrud has another great piece exploring the slippery slope we seem to be traveling down when it comes to autonomous weapons systems: Quote: 'Autonomous weapons are robotic systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator. Advances in computer technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics may lead to a vast expansion in the development and use of such weapons in the near future. Public opinion runs strongly against killer robots. But many of the same claims that propelled the Cold War are being recycled to justify the pursuit of a nascent robotic arms race. Autonomous weapons could be militarily potent and therefore pose a great threat.'"
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

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  • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:36PM (#45902617)

    What To Do?

    "Endeavor to be one of the people writing the algorithms" would probably be a good idea.

  • by jamiefaye ( 44093 ) <jamie@fen[ ]ia.com ['ton' in gap]> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:46PM (#45902715) Homepage

    ... both land and naval. They have become more sophisticated in that they can be triggered by target characteristics, and in the naval case, maneuver.

  • Re:Killer Robots... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a_ghostwheel ( 699776 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:49PM (#45902745)
    You'll like this [gutenberg.org]
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:51PM (#45902775)

    We just need to choose for them not to exist and they won't.

    I disagree. At some point a civilian smartphone, or self-driving car, will contain practically all the technology to be weaponized. (E.g. "avoid people" becomes "pursue people"!) Once you have the sensors, pattern recognition, and mobility, there's no way to control all the possible applications.

  • False Postives (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @08:10PM (#45902953) Journal

    I'm sure the DMCA has shown you what automated systems can do.

  • Re:Skynet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @08:31PM (#45903139)

    That's pretty much it.

    These are only a problem if they are built and used.

    We cannot stop anyone from building them (in secret). But we can get updates added to the Geneva Conventions. And we can choose how we deal with anyone who uses these.

    Although at the moment it looks like we (USA! USA!) will be the ones using them. So contact your Congress Critters and make sure they know that you'll support them if they vote to ban our usage of these.

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @10:36PM (#45903873) Homepage Journal

    Well, to be the devil's advocate, in fact fewer and fewer people are dying in wars the more advanced the weaponry gets.

    I realize this is a very minority position on this page. But it's pretty easy to take a position against defense weaponry and feel on a moral high ground, and pretty easy to adapt a fearful / risk-averse position to unknown change and new developments. It's harder to present a risk-benefit analysis that says electronics wars are hurting more people. It's not impossible to imagine that the robots will do a better job, and we'd have fewer headlines like "US Marine Sargent Kills 16 in Kandahar, 9 of them children". [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandahar_massacre]

  • by Any Web Loco ( 555458 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @12:26AM (#45904309) Homepage
    Most of the comments on this article seem to be against this which is interesting, because every time an article about gun control gets posted, the highest rating comments are overwhelmingly from gun advocates, often with the argument that "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Whats the difference here? Surely robots don't kill people, people kill people?
  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:24AM (#45904485)

    Well, I think the problem was that we thought people like us were in Iraq... and once Saddam was gone they come out of their houses and go about being free and democratic like Europe did after WW2. Well, they're not like us. They didn't do that. And while we do have our own problems, the kind of shit they are willing to put up with is a lot different than the kind of shit we're willing to put up with. Their society needs to change fundamentally. Something deep and eye opening like what happened in the US during the civil rights movement. We can't help them with that, just like no-one could have helped us through the 60s.

  • Re:Skynet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @07:29AM (#45905401) Homepage

    What I find entertaining is the Naive thinking these will be used in the theater of war.
    They want to use these in the American cities. We have the bogeyman of "terrorisim" for the people to be distracted from the problem of urban terrorists we have had for centuries here and getting worse. Street gangs are nothing more than domestic terrorists and the governmnet refuses to do anything at all about them. The police are afraid of them. So they run rampant in places like Chicago, NYC and they pretty much own Detroit.

    Smaller town are starting to have problems with them as well as they are spreading like a cancer across the land.

  • Re:Skynet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @11:34AM (#45906733)

    So far I'd say our record with UAV's speaks for itself,

    Yes, it does. They've produced *fewer* civilian deaths than the airstrikes they replaced.

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