Considering the fetish value of EOD robots How robots save lives and sell war

This article explores how the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robot is represented to the mass media by the US military as a ‘life-saving device’. Such descriptions of the EOD robot discursively organize it in relation to other objects and actors, endow them with values and capacities, and ultimately situate them in social action. Drawing from…

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,…

Twenty Seconds to Comply: Autonomous Weapon Systems and the Recognition of Surrender

The United States Department of Defense defines autonomous weapons as weapon systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator. Autonomous weapon systems are widely predicted to be the future of war fighting, at least in the armed forces of highly industrialized nations. Consequently, there is now a…

Robot ethics: A view from the philosophy of science

Robot ethics is a branch of applied ethics which endeavours to isolate and analyse ethical issues arising in connection with present and prospective uses of robots. These issues span human autonomy protection and promotion, moral responsibility and liability, privacy, fair access to technological resources, social and cultural discrimination, in addition to the ethical dimensions of…

Robots of Just War: A Legal Perspective

In order to present a hopefully comprehensive framework of the stakes of the growing use of robot soldiers, the paper focuses on: (1) the different impact of robots on legal systems, e.g., contractual obligations and tort liability; (2) how robots affect crucial notions as causality, predictability and human culpability in criminal law and, finally, (3)…

Applied Professional Ethics for the Reluctant Roboticist

Since robots are designed to interact with humans, robotics applications always have ethical implications. Until recent decades, most robotics applications were of an industrial nature and therefore far removed from close interactions with people for safety reasons. In that milieu, the ethical impacts of robots on human relations were more subtle and could be mostly…

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…

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,…

Is the Concept of an Ethical Governor Philosophically Sound?

In a series of publications, Ronald Arkin and his team (Arkin, 2009; Arkin et al., 2009) have proposed the concept of an ethical governor, which is supposed to effectively control and enforce the ethical use of lethal force by robots on the battlefield. The idea of an ethical governor, although presently of little influence on…