Printed: 2020-06-06

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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The Case Against Autonomous Killing Machines

George Dvorsky

June 30, 2012

Robots for War - is it really ethical to use these terribly destructive creations, that the USA military is rapidly developing and deploying ?

Long a staple of science fiction, the notion of autonomous robots that can kill is starting to take root in the U.S. military. It’ll only be a matter of time before these “thinking” machines are unleashed on the battlefield — a prospect that’s not sitting well with people both inside and outside of the Pentagon.

Is it really ethical to develop and deploy these terrible creations? And what, if anything, can we do to prevent it?

One person who believes that this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately is Wendell Wallach, a scholar and consultant at Yale’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Bioethics and coauthor of Moral Machines: Teaching Right From Wrong. io9 recently spoke with Wallach to get a better understanding of this issue, and to find out why he feels that autonomous killing machines should be declared illegal.

But first, it’s worth doing a quick overview to get a sense of just how close the U.S. military is to deploying such weapons.

To read the rest of the article click HERE


Image via Terminator Wikia

George P. Dvorsky serves as Chair of the IEET Board of Directors and also heads our Rights of Non-Human Persons program. He is a Canadian futurist, science writer, and bioethicist. He is a contributing editor at io9 — where he writes about science, culture, and futurism — and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. He served for two terms at Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association). George produces Sentient Developments blog and podcast.


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