Monday, 6 May 2013

Killer Robots!



Munitions manufactures under pressure from society have found a way of making weapons which will kill the enemy but keep our army absolutely safe.
Last month a campaign was launched that despite the potential comedy drew little mainstream media attention. The Stop the Killer Robot campaign was launched at the House of Commons and of course immediately draws your mind to Skynet or the ED209 from RoboCop.
However, Killer Robots actually exist and the campaign is to get a treaty signed before they go into production. Dr Noel Sharkey, who some of us may remember from Robot Wars back in the good ole’ days, is a founding member and was quoted at the launch saying:  “Robot warfare and autonomous weapons, the next step from unmanned drones, are already being worked on by scientists and will be available within the decade.”

Imagine a fire hydrant. A CCTV camera identifies you and the on board AI checks you as friend or foe. In the world of GPS, Satellite communication and WiFi an entire network of these killer robots could be patrolling and holding a front line of a battlefield or even a land border. The logical progression is to then fit this technology to those unmanned drones or just give them caterpillar tracks.
It is easy to say that this is scaremongering but South Korea demonstrated what it called a Autonomous Sentry in 2007.  They then demonstrated a soldier approaching the unit and being ordered to surrender to what at first glance looks a like a camera from Big Brother house.

The UN has commissioned a report into what it calls ‘lethal autonomous robotics’ which draft versions appeared online at the end of April. The UN is already calling for international meetings on this subject.

The campaign’s website states “Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield is an unacceptable application of technology.”