Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert

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Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:10 pm

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gfE ... ghZup9V7yg

Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert


PARIS (AFP) — Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.

"They pose a threat to humanity," said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey ahead of a keynote address Wednesday before Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world -- from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones -- can already identify and lock onto targets without human help.

There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours.

The first three armed combat robots fitted with large-caliber machine guns deployed to Iraq last summer, manufactured by US arms maker Foster-Miller, proved so successful that 80 more are on order, said Sharkey.

But up to now, a human hand has always been required to push the button or pull the trigger.

It we are not careful, he said, that could change.

Military leaders "are quite clear that they want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more cost-effective and give a risk-free war," he said.

Several countries, led by the United States, have already invested heavily in robot warriors developed for use on the battlefield.

South Korea and Israel both deploy armed robot border guards, while China, India, Russia and Britain have all increased the use of military robots.

Washington plans to spend four billion dollars by 2010 on unmanned technology systems, with total spending expected rise to 24 billion, according to the Department of Defense's Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032, released in December.

James Canton, an expert on technology innovation and CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, predicts that deployment within a decade of detachments that will include 150 soldiers and 2,000 robots.

The use of such devices by terrorists should be a serious concern, said Sharkey.

Captured robots would not be difficult to reverse engineer, and could easily replace suicide bombers as the weapon-of-choice. "I don't know why that has not happened already," he said.

But even more worrisome, he continued, is the subtle progression from the semi-autonomous military robots deployed today to fully independent killing machines.

"I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination terrifies me," Sharkey said.

Ronald Arkin of Georgia Institute of Technology, who has worked closely with the US military on robotics, agrees that the shift towards autonomy will be gradual.

But he is not convinced that robots don't have a place on the front line.

"Robotics systems may have the potential to out-perform humans from a perspective of the laws of war and the rules of engagement," he told a conference on technology in warfare at Stanford University last month.

The sensors of intelligent machines, he argued, may ultimately be better equipped to understand an environment and to process information. "And there are no emotions that can cloud judgement, such as anger," he added.

Nor is there any inherent right to self-defence.

For now, however, there remain several barriers to the creation and deployment of Terminator-like killing machines.

Some are technical. Teaching a computer-driven machine -- even an intelligent one -- how to distinguish between civilians and combatants, or how to gauge a proportional response as mandated by the Geneva Conventions, is simply beyond the reach of artificial intelligence today.

But even if technical barriers are overcome, the prospect of armies increasingly dependent on remotely-controlled or autonomous robots raises a host of ethical issues that have barely been addressed.

Arkin points out that the US Department of Defense's 230 billion dollar Future Combat Systems programme -- the largest military contract in US history -- provides for three classes of aerial and three land-based robotics systems.

"But nowhere is there any consideration of the ethical implications of the weaponisation of these systems," he said.

For Sharkey, the best solution may be an outright ban on autonomous weapons systems. "We have to say where we want to draw the line and what we want to do -- and then get an international agreement," he said.
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Postby teamdaemon » Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:26 pm

Military leaders "are quite clear that they want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more cost-effective and give a risk-free war," he said.
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Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:32 am

Best headline not from the Onion ever.

BTW- A few months ago when I was checking out the 'Coming Attractions' posters at the local mall megacinema, I noticed that the lobby had a refridgerator-sized cardboard model of some "cute" but dangerous-looking robot from some upcoming, I think, Disney film.
Maybe it was Sony.

Typical conditioning.
Any horrible new weapon technology comes to children's eyes first in the form of a cool movie.

R2D2 will now disembowel you.
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Postby Sepka » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:15 am

Any useful technology can become a threat if it falls into the hands of terrorists. The answer isn't to restrict technology, but to exterminate the terrorists.
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Postby Joe Hillshoist » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:35 am

Sepka wrote:Any useful technology can become a threat if it falls into the hands of terrorists. The answer isn't to restrict technology, but to exterminate the terrorists.


Best quote from the onion ever.
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Postby orz » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:37 am

Any glorious robot technology can become a threat if it falls into the hands of human. The answer isn't to restrict technology, but to exterminate the humans.
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:46 am

Any useful technology can become a threat if it falls into the hands of terrorists. The answer isn't to restrict technology, but to exterminate the terrorists.


Sepka, being itself a robot, is naturally prejudiced.

exterminate the terrorists


Creepy fuck.
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Postby 8bitagent » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:05 am

So THATS why the government and pentagon puts out so many violent army video games! Its to condition kids into thinly veiled recruitment thinking, and condition them for the day when you can blow up "darkies" with merely a joystick

Oh wait...

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/ ... ?GT1=10856

No...it looks like for some time the US government has been having people use joysticks to command UAV drones that murder innocent Pakistani villagers, Afghanis and Iraqis.

And now that MSNBC article says hundreds of armed robots are in iraq and afghanistan, and thousands being made

Great.
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Postby erosoplier » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:38 am

Seriously, I can only make sense of this kind of thing by viewing it through a feminist lens.

This is simply patriarchy gone mad.

Boys, who think they are men, boys who actually have the run of the place (because real men and women aren't allowed to interfere - real men and women would stop this kind of silly shit dead), these boys are allowed to use humanity's best and brightest, and humanity's economic surplus, to make better killing machines. Everything else falls by the wayside.

And critters like Sepka think of this as "the advance of civilization."
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Postby Sepka » Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:36 am

erosoplier wrote:these boys are allowed to use humanity's best and brightest, and humanity's economic surplus, to make better killing machines.

And critters like Sepka think of this as "the advance of civilization."


I do, yes. Would you rather see us send our soldiers to be maimed and killed in place of machines? Or would you prefer that we just use area-effect weapons that keep our soldiers safe, but can't discriminate between combatants and civilians?
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Postby wintler2 » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:38 am

It is a headline to remember, but not a prospect that terrifies me. Formulaic management always screws up, and these robots are a l-o-n-g way from truely autonomous. I'd rather face a robot than a sadistic copper or soldier any day... at least have no hopeless hope for mercy, nor compunction about destroying the device. Add it to the list of things that Iraqi, Palestinian and Chinese insurgents will have to teach in the years ahead.

Sepka wrote:
erosoplier wrote:these boys are allowed to use humanity's best and brightest, and humanity's economic surplus, to make better killing machines.
And critters like Sepka think of this as "the advance of civilization."


I do, yes. Would you rather see us send our soldiers to be maimed and killed in place of machines? Or would you prefer that we just use area-effect weapons that keep our soldiers safe, but can't discriminate between combatants and civilians?

Typically crapola coke vs. pepsi choice from RI's leading voice of the machine. How about instead we withdraw the soldiers home for a little corporate cleansing, followed by retraining in housing retrofits and production of domestic renewable-powered devices? They can mandate jobs for the crippled/TPIs at gas stations, to remind folks that terrorists love cars.
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Postby erosoplier » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:48 am

Sepka wrote:
erosoplier wrote:these boys are allowed to use humanity's best and brightest, and humanity's economic surplus, to make better killing machines.

And critters like Sepka think of this as "the advance of civilization."


I do, yes. Would you rather see us send our soldiers to be maimed and killed in place of machines? Or would you prefer that we just use area-effect weapons that keep our soldiers safe, but can't discriminate between combatants and civilians?



Like what you said Wintler.

I'd rather your soldiers stayed home, Sepka. What do you think of that idea?

If your people had only applied some common sense and some then state-of-the-art technology a few decades ago, your fuel needs would be half of what they are today. Why can't America advance civilization by inventing useful freedom- and democracy-promoting technology, rather than degrade it by instead inventing weapons which make the dirty job of acquiring the resources of other nations via military dominance profitable for your industrial base, and acceptable to your foot-soldier class?
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Postby Sepka » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:07 am

erosoplier wrote:I'd rather your soldiers stayed home, Sepka. What do you think of that idea?


I'd rather there weren't any need for us to have a military at all, much less use it. That's not the world we live in, though.


erosoplier wrote:If your people had only applied some common sense and some then state-of-the-art technology a few decades ago, your fuel needs would be half of what they are today. Why can't America advance civilization by inventing useful freedom- and democracy-promoting technology


There's no point in mourning the mistakes of the past - all the tears in the world won't change them. Given the unfortunate state of the world that we live in, any technology that contributes to the defeat of terrorism is useful, freedom-producing, and democracy-promoting. It's not so much a question even of advancing civilization at this point, as it is of keeping it alive for our descendants. We've allowed ourselves to get into a situation where hostile barbarians control a resource without which the civilized world's economy will collapse.

You're correct that that was stupid and shortsighted of us. Several decades ago, most of us really did believe with all our hearts in the ideals of Peace Through Understanding, that everyone just wanted a world of peace and prosperity, and if we all just talked to one another, we'd find that our conflicts were based on misunderstandings. It's beyond sad to find out how badly we were mistaken.
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Postby FourthBase » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:59 am

Hostile barbarians control the oil?
You think terrorists control the oil?
You think radical militant Muslims control the oil?
You don't think mega-rich westernized Muslims control the oil?

Are you fucking serious?
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:51 am

The Weasel said:

We've allowed ourselves to get into a situation where hostile barbarians control a resource without which the civilized world's economy will collapse.


How convenient that you classify yourself as part of the "civilised world", and those whose property you want to steal, happen to be "hostile barbarians" and "terrorists" who deserve to be "exterminated".

There you have it, boys and girls: zionism in a nutshell.

From the bottom of my heart, I pray that what you wish for others, for good or ill, come to you, instead.

Keep me posted, if possible.
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