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sculker 02-27-2008 04:57 PM

Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert
 
:eek:

Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert

Feb 27 07:18 AM US/Eastern


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.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080227111811.y9syyq8p&show_article= 1

bkt 02-27-2008 09:11 PM

*shrug* At least it won't have to worry about getting its ass hauled up before a court for killing the enemy during wartime.

ScottG 02-28-2008 12:22 AM

Professor of Artificial Intelligence indeed! Sadly, we'll never have invincible death dealing robots o' doom....

hillbilly68 02-28-2008 11:48 AM

I already have one. :cool:

matt g 02-28-2008 02:35 PM

AI will be man's downfall.

bkt 02-28-2008 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by matt g (Post 17726)
AI will be man's downfall.

Either that, or just a general lack of conventional intelligence.

cpttango30 02-28-2008 06:18 PM

Ok I will enter the Tin Foil Hat area. Just turn them off. Set off a nuke and the emp will take them all out. just lure them into down townLA and drop a nuke on it bang killed two birds with one stone. took out a lot fo gang bangers and killed all the death dealing robots.

I think someone watched the Matrix one too many times.

moviezombie 02-29-2008 04:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by matt g (Post 17726)
AI will be man's downfall.

sarah conner and her progeny will save us.....

movie zombie

Defender 02-29-2008 06:04 AM

Even if it were true, we'll all be long gone before it ever happens. I'm not losing any sleep over it. :D

hillbilly68 02-29-2008 09:03 AM

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

That is me rolling my eyes.


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