Yesterday, for the first time in history, U.N. representatives met to talk exclusively about the rise of future killer robots and the laws and policies which should regulate their use on the battlefield. As you can imagine, the mere thought of having our cities invaded by Terminators made most officials to urge their colleagues to ban the creation and use of such killing machines.
Kathleen Lawand, head of the ICRC’s arms unit stated that
The central issue is the potential absence of human control over the critical functions of identifying and attacking targets, including human targets,
There is a sense of deep discomfort with the idea of allowing machines to make life-and-death decisions on the battlefield with little or no human involvement.
Her words found an echo in other U.N. representatives, especially in Michael Møller, the head of the U.N.’s Conference on Disarmament, who firmly opposes the idea of having swarms of flying killers in the skies and cohorts of metallic mindless robots firing at will.
The rise of future killer robots is supported by the tech scientists who have been working for decades to develop such advanced machines. They say we are at least 20 years far from the actual existence of a killer robot, and the world should look at the upside of things. The use of mechanized autonomous weapons might not only save millions of lives on the battlefield, but such machines can also be used for peaceful purposes. The main issue with the rise of future killer robots is the potential absence of a human controller to dictate decisions and actions.
While the representatives agreed that the technology itself cannot be banned, as Robotics is an important research field on a global scale without being excluded to military purposes, further talks on the ethics of using killer robots in warfare are mandatory. The science of robotics can save millions of life due to its applications (from autonomous vacuum cleaners to medical devices), but the perspective of getting killed by walking weapons isn’t something the world is yet comfortable with. Future talks on these pressing matters are scheduled for November this year.