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…

Military Robots: Mapping the Moral Landscape

Philosophers have wrestled over the morality and ethics of war for nearly as long as human beings have been waging it. The death and destruction that unmanned warfare entails magnifies the moral and ethical challenges we face in conventional warfare and everyday society. Intrinsically linked are questions and perennial problems concerning what justifies the initial…

How Robots Can Affect Human Behavior: Investigating the Effects of Robotic Displays of Protest and Distress

The rise of military drones and other robots deployed in ethically-sensitive contexts has fueled interest in developing autonomous agents that behave ethically. The ability for autonomous agents to independently reason about situational ethics will inevitably lead to confrontations between robots and human operators regarding the morality of issued commands. Ideally, a robot would be able…

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,…

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…

Governing Military Technologies in the 21st Century

Governing Military Technologies in the 21st Century is one of the first books to tackle the big five technological threats at once: nanotech, robotics, cyberwar, human enhancement, and non-lethal weapons, in the process weaving a historical, legal, and sociopolitical fabric into a discussion of their development, deployment, and potential regulation.

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…

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…