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-   -   Banning the Autonomous Killer Robots? (http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/geo-strategic-issues/banning-autonomous-killer-robots-12313/)

colay December 1st, 2012 12:06 AM

Banning the Autonomous Killer Robots?
 
Is it really possible to put the technology genie back in the bottle? Ironically, if advances in AI materialize, then what's the difference if it's organic or silicon-based sentience pulling the trigger?

IMO the rise of autonomous weapons systems is a natural progression that cannot be stopped. None of the major players can risk their adversary gaining a significant advantage that such systems would confer.

Ban

Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Before It’s Too Late

Fully Autonomous Weapons Would Increase Danger to Civilians

NOVEMBER 19, 2012

(Washington, DC) – Governments should pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons because of the danger they pose to civilians in armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. These future weapons, sometimes called “killer robots,” would be able to choose and fire on targets without human intervention...

Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, and major powers, including the United States, have not made a decision to deploy them. But high-tech militaries are developing or have already deployed precursors that illustrate the push toward greater autonomy for machines on the battlefield...

“It is essential to stop the development of killer robots before they show up in national arsenals,” Goose said. “As countries become more invested in this technology, it will become harder to persuade them to give it up.”

gf0012-aust December 1st, 2012 03:19 AM

The question of authority to release with UAS technology has been front and centre for the last 12 years - The human rights groups are a bit behind the 8 ball if they think that no one has been dealing with it

The first time I attended a Conf on UAV/UCAV/TUAV (as they were then known) issues and where working groups were formed up to discuss the issues of weapons release and autonomous use was in London in 2002, and again in 2008.

The rules and processes in place for armed UAS are quite comprehensive - nobody is looking at unfettered release of armed UAS because they are quite conscious of the current judicial reqs and codes of justice provisions that currently exist

the decision chain is in impeachable for a reason.

StobieWan December 1st, 2012 08:19 AM

I think there was a reply on the DMC web feed from the UK MOD along the lines that UAV's are on exactly the same leash that manned assets are - and always have been.

If anyone read any accounts of how *manned* assets work, they'd perhaps understand that even the manned systems aren't roaring around in the sky with a silk scarf, yelling "Tally ho, Terry Taleban at four o'clock chaps.." and dropping weapons without treble checking with everyone else in the loop.

There isn't a platform flying, manned or unmanned that makes a decision to shoot without authority right now - there's a pretty healthy culture of responsibility out there, from (literally) the ground up, starting with any embedded FAC and working back out.

We may well get to a point where an autonomous system would be reliable enough to fly unsupervised, plotting it's own routes as required and flagging targets for attention but I don't think there's any appetite at all autonomous weapons release.

I suspect we'll see more FAC's, better BFT, and perhaps the opportunity for ground forces to directly interact with the UAV's above but not a Skynet style flying terminator - there's nothing to ban :)

My2Cents December 2nd, 2012 04:37 AM

We need to the precise language that they are proposing. Based on HRW’s past history, don’t be surprised if what they are proposing is so vague that it can be used to ban the current generation of drone aircraft, which may be the true purpose. HRW has used the same language to condemn the use drone aircraft, despite that fact that the resulting civilian to target casualty ratio has not been this low in over a century.

Gremlin29 December 2nd, 2012 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by My2Cents (Post 256197)
We need to the precise language that they are proposing. Based on HRW’s past history, don’t be surprised if what they are proposing is so vague that it can be used to ban the current generation of drone aircraft, which may be the true purpose. HRW has used the same language to condemn the use drone aircraft, despite that fact that the resulting civilian to target casualty ratio has not been this low in over a century.

This is in large part due to the misuse of the term "drone" IMHO. UAV's are not drones but that is what they keep calling them in the MSM. I believe the misuse of the term is intentional for the purposes already mentioned.

kato December 2nd, 2012 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gremlin29 (Post 256204)
UAV's are not drones but that is what they keep calling them in the MSM.

Any unmanned self-propelled vehicle of any kind is a drone. Even if some militaries have definitions deviating from not just "mainstream media" but the very definition of the word in the English (and other) languages.

Quote:

Originally Posted by My2Cents (Post 256197)
despite that fact that the resulting civilian to target casualty ratio has not been this low in over a century.

Which is mostly a matter of definition of the word "civilian".

Quote:

Originally Posted by StobieWan (Post 256163)
There isn't a platform flying, manned or unmanned that makes a decision to shoot without authority right now

As long as we don't include certain artillery-delivered autonomous seeker munitions and autonomous self-selecting anti-radar munitions including drones with such capability, yeah...

My2Cents December 2nd, 2012 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kato (Post 256209)
Quote:

Originally Posted by My2Cents (Post 256197)
HRW has used the same language to condemn the use drone aircraft, despite that fact that the resulting civilian to target casualty ratio has not been this low in over a century.

Which is mostly a matter of definition of the word "civilian".

I was thinking more about the casualties resulting from indiscriminate targeting of civilian infrastructure that came about with the development of aircraft and long range artillery starting in WWI. One of the effects of using drones in the current conflicts is the long time on station to spot individual targets and much smaller payload has minimized the use of those tactics.

Gremlin29 December 2nd, 2012 06:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kato (Post 256209)
Any unmanned self-propelled vehicle of any kind is a drone. Even if some militaries have definitions deviating from not just "mainstream media" but the very definition of the word in the English (and other) languages.

I respecfully disagree, a drone is autonomous. This is why militaries and civil aviation authorities make the distinction between a drone and a UAV, both are in use but serve different purposes.

colay December 2nd, 2012 08:10 PM

I appreciate the safeguards that are currently in place to mitigate the risk of collateral damage to the extent that the lawyers even have to be consulted before the use of force is authorized.

Just saying that technology waits for no one and it's just inevitable that the current paradigm will shift and everything gets thrown out the window. If deterrence fails, then wouldn't the idea be to win wars quickly and decisively via applying overwhelming force with precision? The temptation will be great to develop systems that can act/react faster unhindered by human intervention.

Just a matter of "when" not "if" IMO.

gf0012-aust December 2nd, 2012 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by colay (Post 256223)
I appreciate the safeguards that are currently in place to mitigate the risk of collateral damage to the extent that the lawyers even have to be consulted before the use of force is authorized.

Yep, thats exactly what happens.

Nobody is going to apply lethal force without human input.

To paraphrase Monopoly. "Go directly to gaol, do not collect $200 as you pass Go:

maybe in 2100 or maybe when rogue states/players are involved, but not with state players who subscribe to international obligations and who have codes of military justice in place.


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