Latest in Autonomous

Image credit:

UN debates a preemptive ban on killer robots

20 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Killer robots are at the heart of popcorn fare like the Matrix and Terminator movies, but there's a serious debate underlying it all: do we want to trust fully autonomous machines with lethal weapons? Some would argue that it's just too risky, and the United Nations has accordingly held its first meetings discussing a potential ban on the concept before it ever gets off the ground. Critics (including the UN's acting European head, Michael Moeller) argue that deadly robots may not consistently obey humanitarian laws, particularly in tricky situations; they may do things that are logically sound, but morally flawed. There are also worries about accountability, since it may be difficult to hold armies and police forces directly responsible for deaths at their robots' hands.

It's not a single-sided argument, of course. While few would demand no-questions-asked approval of warrior 'bots, there is a concern that we're letting sci-fi get to our heads. The notion of a fully independent, death-dealing automaton isn't necessarily realistic for arms dealers -- there may not be much pressure to update the UN's rulebooks any time soon. The meetings could be premature, then, but it's arguably better that humanity establish its position before it's easy to put robots on the battlefield.

[Image credit: Campaign to Stop Killer Robots]

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
20 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Senate approves $1 billion budget to help rural carriers replace Huawei gear

Senate approves $1 billion budget to help rural carriers replace Huawei gear

View
Citroën's new EV is a tiny two-seater that only costs $22 a month

Citroën's new EV is a tiny two-seater that only costs $22 a month

View
Clearview AI leak names businesses using its facial recognition database

Clearview AI leak names businesses using its facial recognition database

View
Apple's keyboard cover for the next iPad Pro could add a trackpad

Apple's keyboard cover for the next iPad Pro could add a trackpad

View
Facebook sues analytics firm that stole user data through third-party apps

Facebook sues analytics firm that stole user data through third-party apps

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr