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Stop the Killer Robots


seabhcan

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(Not sure which is the best forum for this. Is it Science&Tech? Foreign Affairs? Military?)

The US and others already have remotely piloted drones which, at the push of a button, can wipe out a terrorist/family/small village.

Apparently, the best ideas are from Hollywood, and military scientists are already working on autonomous killer robots - actual Terminators. These would be a bit like the robots used for bomb disposal, but would have a machine gun attached and make their own decisions on who to kill.

I actually saw a prototype once. I was at a closed arms trade show in paris a few years back (don't ask) and an Israel company was showing off this thing. It was about 60 cm high, looked like a miniature tank and had a machine gun where the turret should have been. It was 'semi-autonomous' - a bit like the Mars Rover - you'd tell it where to go, and it would figure out its own route. It would also target humans it saw, but wait for a command before it did anything unpleasant to them. Its a small step to making kill decisions on its own.

Anyway, the existence and development of such things terrifies not only me. "A new global campaign to persuade nations to ban "killer robots" before they reach the production stage is to be launched in the UK by a group of academics, pressure groups and Nobel peace prize laureates."

Killer robots must be stopped, say campaigners | Technology | The Observer

What does p.ie think? I presume the libertarian camp will demand the right of every individual to own its own genocidal killer robot. I would support a ban, but I doubt such a ban would be respected. I fear a future oil war where instead of 'boots on the ground', fleets of robots are sent to suppress the population. No brave soldiers in body bags returning on the nightly news to moderate public opinion. No downside for the politicians. Endless war becomes profitable once again.
 


RahenyFG

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Are they like this?

 

Catalpast

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If it works and can save the lives of the soldiers of the State that produces them then they will go for it

Crossbows and submarines were considered 'immoral' in their own day
 

sic transit

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If it works and can save the lives of the soldiers of the State that produces them then they will go for it

Crossbows and submarines were considered 'immoral' in their own day
I think it's the actual cost of soldiers that bothers them more and the fact that a few seconds can wipe out years of training and knowledge. Not sure I'd call these things Terminators. They look like a step up from the very helpful bomb disposal bots that are already in common usage.
 

seabhcan

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Not sure I'd call these things Terminators. They look like a step up from the very helpful bomb disposal bots that are already in common usage.
The key difference is that the machine decides who to kill.

At present, Sharkey says, there is no mechanism in a robot's "mind" to distinguish between a child holding up a sweet and an adult pointing a gun. "We are struggling to get them to distinguish between a human being and a car. We have already seen utter incompetence in the use of drones, operators making a lot of mistakes and not being properly supervised."
 

firefly123

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More like this guy. Designed to act as a mule to carry kit. Obviously needs a bit of sound proofing and development but the balance is incredible. Also does anyone else feel bad when they kick it?
[video=youtube;W1czBcnX1Ww]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww&feature=youtube_gdata_player [/video]
 

seabhcan

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More like this guy. Designed to act as a mule to carry kit. Obviously needs a bit of sound proofing and development but the balance is incredible. Also does anyone else feel bad when they kick it?
I'm sure they've stuck a gun on this thing. They just haven't put that video on youtube.

Imagine, 15 years from now, you're living in a country that has the misfortune to have oil underneath it. Your town has been bombed and you are hiding in the rubble. You peak around the corner and 50 of those things, with guns swivelling, are creeping over the bricks and bodies in the street. No humanity, no restraint.
 

drummed

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Killer robots? Right.............:)
 

Catalpast

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More like this guy. Designed to act as a mule to carry kit. Obviously needs a bit of sound proofing and development but the balance is incredible. Also does anyone else feel bad when they kick it?
[video=youtube;W1czBcnX1Ww]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww&feature=youtube_gdata_player [/video]
Surely though Mules are cheaper?

 

firefly123

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I'm sure they've stuck a gun on this thing. They just haven't put that video on youtube.

Imagine, 15 years from now, you're living in a country that has the misfortune to have oil underneath it. Your town has been bombed and you are hiding in the rubble. You peak around the corner and 50 of those things, with guns swivelling, are creeping over the bricks and bodies in the street. No humanity, no restraint.

Sounds like a great film plot... Oh wait!
[video=youtube;4cta8KBPAjE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cta8KBPAjE&feature=youtube_gdata_player[/video]
 

Hitch 22

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Have I seen this movie before?

[video=youtube;P4o99k-aPKk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4o99k-aPKk[/video]
 

Sense 0f Wonder

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Are they like this?

I know you're prob just being funny but mainstream misconceptions about the intelligence-levels of robots is something that drives roboticists crazy: robots are not smart enough to be able to distinguish a combatant from a civilian (see UN rules of war). That is why a human should remain in the decision-making loop (and why autonomy should never be granted to robots). ICRAC (the folks behind this campaign) have been knocking around for a good few years now.

Against all of that is the reality that human soldiers are terrible fighters --they get emotional, seek revenge for fallen comrades and break internationally-agreed rules of war all the time.

Almost half of surveyed troops say torture OK - Marine Corps News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Marine Corps Times

Almost half of surveyed troops say torture OK

More than 40 percent of soldiers and Marines who recently served in the war zone believe torture should be allowed if it would save the life of a comrade, according to a 2006 military mental health assessment.
In addition, less than half the 1,350 soldiers and only about one-third of the nearly 450 Marines polled anonymously in Iraq from August to October 2006 told members of Mental Health Advisory Team IV they believe all noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect
The study also found that 36 percent of soldiers and 39 percent of Marines believe torture should be allowed to gather information about insurgents, and 17 percent said all noncombatants should be treated as insurgents.

Of surveyed soldiers, 4 percent reported hitting or kicking noncombatants when it was not necessary; among Marines, 7 percent reported doing so.
And so it comes down to whether machines can be provided with software that grants them ethical capabilities equal to --or better than-- that possessed by humans.

So we get ideas like Ronald Arkin's "ethical governor" which could be installed on a robot and used to enable the bot itself to keep its violence within certain limits.

Let's say an autonomous bot is sent on a mission to an area and has to start attacks on certain targets; one possible use of the ethical governor would be to set a limit of the number of attacks a bot makes before it leaves the area. To paraphrase, we are talking about something as simple as

If weapons engaged then let attack = attack + 1
If attacks = 5 then return to base.

All in all, it seems like an open q to me --humans don't exactly abide by the rules of war so perhaps using robots is a wise move that humanity will benefit from. On the other hand, proposals like the ethical governor, which try to encode human ethical standards within machines, remain unconvincing.

The biggest problem for me is proliferation and if you let a drone/other war-robot out into the field there is the chance that your opponents will capture or reverse engineer it. Think about how few drones there were ten years ago.. 60+ countries have them now.
 

Pat Gill

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Perhaps reading Issac Asimov should become prescribed reading for programmers ?

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or Three Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround", although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
 

stopdoingstuff

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Feb 26, 2011
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I presume the libertarian camp will demand the right of every individual to own its own genocidal killer robot.
But with the surging rabbit population, how else are we to thin out their numbers?
 

Ramon Mercadar

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