Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is an International Treaty needed to limit robotic weaponry?

An International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) was founded after a two day meeting in Sheffield, UK earlier this month. The four founding members include Noel Sharkey, physicist Jürgen Altmann of Dortmund University of Technology, Germany; Robert Sparrow of the Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, near Melbourne, Australia; and philosopher Peter Asaro of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

NewScientist posted a story on the founding of ICRAC titled, Campaign asks for international treaty to limit war robots.

ICRAC fears the principle of keeping a "man in the loop" will be eroded, so that the next generation of robot soldiers will be trusted with life-or-death decisions. Indeed, research into just such scenarios is taking place with US military funding.

The committee is also worried that countries will be more likely to go to war if their casualties will be robots rather than human soldiers. They have also raised the danger of autonomous systems starting and escalating conflicts automatically.

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