Monday, Dec 01, 2008
The American military is planning to build robot soldiers that will not be able to commit war crimes like their human comrades in arms.
The US Army and Navy have both hired experts in the ethics of building machines to prevent the creation of an amoral Terminator-style killing machine that murders indiscriminately.
By 2010 the US will have invested $4 billion in a research programme into “autonomous systems”, the military jargon for robots, on the basis that they would not succumb to fear or the desire for vengeance that afflicts frontline soldiers.
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A British robotics expert has been recruited by the US Navy to advise them on building robots that do not violate the Geneva Conventions.
Colin Allen, a scientific philosopher at Indiana University’s has just published a book summarising his views entitled Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “The question they want answered is whether we can build automated weapons that would conform to the laws of war. Can we use ethical theory to help design these machines?”
Pentagon chiefs are concerned by studies of combat stress in Iraq that show high proportions of frontline troops supporting torture and retribution against enemy combatants.
This article was posted: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 5:09 am