Magazine article New Internationalist

Rise of the Killer Robots

Magazine article New Internationalist

Rise of the Killer Robots

Article excerpt

Irrespective of intelligence, no machine is capable of morality. So, if you thought drones were bad, you are likely to take an even dimmer view of their successors: 'lethal autonomous robotic weapons'. Unlike remote-controlled drones, 'killer robots' require no external 'live' human input at all, and can be pre-programmed to select and destroy specific targets.

The new weaponry poses a grave threat to human rights, according to the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which argues that the arms undermine international law by eliminating all human culpability.

In the tradition of militarized drones, developed by contractors behind closed doors and unleashed, almost without warning, on to the battlefield, lethal autonomous weapons could be put into use in combat without further public debate.

It's a trend that concerns human rights groups and military organizations in equal measure. The latter consider it a slight on military practice to suggest that wars should not be fought by trained individuals, acting under certain codes.

The 'killer robot' technology is being developed in the US, Britain, Russia, China and Israel. Israel already has the 'Harpy' - a 'fire and forget' weapon capable of detecting and destroying radar emitters. …

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