“Campaign Against Killer Robots” is dead serious
I read about this in this month’s Scientific American. That’s paywalled. The gist, via a few quotes from the article:
– “Once launched, an AWS finds, tracks, selects and attacks targets with violent force, all without human supervision.” (AWS stands for “fully autonomous weapons system.”)
– “Since the mid-2000s, when the U.S. Department of Defense triggered a global artificial-intelligence arms race by signaling its intent to develop autonomous weapons for all branches of the armed forces, every major power and several lesser ones have been striving to acquire these systems.”
– “Much of the push toward such weapons comes from defense contractors eyeing the possibility of large profits, but high-ranking military commanders nervous about falling behind in the artificial-intelligence arms race also play a significant role.”
– “At last count, 30 nations had demanded an outright ban of fully autonomous weapons, but most others want regulations to ensure that humans are responsible for making the decision to attack (or not). Progress is being blocked, however, by a small handful of nations led by the U.S., Russia, Israel, and Australia.”
Fully autonomous weapons would decide who lives and dies, without further human intervention, which crosses a moral threshold. As machines, they would lack the inherently human characteristics such as compassion that are necessary to make complex ethical choices…
Replacing troops with machines could make the decision to go to war easier and shift the burden of conflict even further on to civilians. Fully autonomous weapons would make tragic mistakes with unanticipated consequences that could inflame tensions.
I honestly don’t intend to just provide people of intelligence and humanity yet another dark thing to ruminate over while laying awake at night, these days. But as was pointed out to me once when I’d been silly, and which multitudes unfortunately still haven’t picked up on, there is in fact no bliss in ignorance. Only ignorance.
Incidentally, have you seen much about this in corporate “news” media? I certainly haven’t.
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