The evitability of autonomous robot warfare

AbstractThis is a call for the prohibition of autonomous lethal targeting by free-ranging robots. This article will first point out the three main international humanitarian law (IHL)/ethical issues with armed autonomous robots and then move on to discuss a major stumbling block to their evitability: misunderstandings about the limitations of robotic systems and artificial intelligence.…

Categorization and legality of autonomous and remote weapons systems

This article reconsiders the status and legality of both autonomous and remote weapons systems under international humanitarian law. Technologically advanced unmanned military systems are being introduced into the modern battlespace with insufficient recognition of their potential challenge to international humanitarian law. The article questions the understanding of both autonomous and remote weapons systems as ‘weapons’…

On banning autonomous weapon systems: human rights, automation, and the dehumanization of lethal decision-making

AbstractThis article considers the recent literature concerned with establishing an international prohibition on autonomous weapon systems. It seeks to address concerns expressed by some scholars that such a ban might be problematic for various reasons. It argues in favour of a theoretical foundation for such a ban based on human rights and humanitarian principles that…

Ban Killer Robots before They Become Weapons of Mass Destruction

Last week the Future of Life Institute released a letter signed by some 1,500 artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and technology researchers. Among them were celebrities of science and the technology industry—Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak—along with public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Daniel Dennett. The letter called for an international ban on…

Killer Robots as cultural techniques

In October 2012 a group of non-governmental organizations formed a Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. The aim of this campaign was to preemptively ban fully autonomous weapons capable of selecting and engaging targets without human intervention. The campaign gained momentum swiftly, leading to different legal and political discussions and decision-makings. In this article, we use…

Automated Killers and the Computing Profession

When will we realize that our artificial intelligence and autonomous-robotics research projects have been harnessed to manufacture killing machines? This is not terminator-style science fiction but grim reality: South Korea and Israel have both deployed armed robot border guards, while other nations--including China, India, Russia, Singapore, and the UK--increasingly use military robots. Fully autonomous robots…

Killer Robots

The United States Army's Future Combat Systems Project, which aims to manufacture a robot army that will be ready for deployment by 2012, is only the latest and most dramatic example of military interest in the use of artificially intelligent systems in modern warfare. This paper considers the ethics of the decision to send artificially…

Killing by Remote Control: The Ethics of an Unmanned Military

The increased military employment of remotely operated aerial vehicles, also known as drones, has raised a wide variety of important ethical questions, concerns, and challenges. Many of these have not yet received the serious scholarly examination such worries rightly demand. This volume attempts to fill that gap through sustained analysis of a wide range of…

Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design

This report is designed as a preliminary investigation into the risk and ethics issues related to autonomous military systems, with a particular focus on battlefield robotics as perhaps the most controversial area. It is intended to help inform policymakers, military personnel, scientists, as well as the broader public who collectively influence such developments. Our goal…

Autonomous Weapons: Are You Sure These are Killer Robots? Can We Talk About It?

The rise of autonomous weapons is creating understandable concern for the international community as it is impossible to predict exactly what will happen with the technology. This uncertainty has led some to advocate for a preemptive ban on the technology. Yet the emergence of a new means of warfare is not a unique phenomenon and…

From Killer Machines to Doctrines and Swarms, or Why Ethics of Military Robotics Is Not (Necessarily) About Robots

Ethical reflections on military robotics can be enriched by a better understanding of the nature and role of these technologies and by putting robotics into context in various ways. Discussing a range of ethical questions, this paper challenges the prevalent assumptions that military robotics is about military technology as a mere means to an end,…