Should Killer Robots be allowed to kill humans asks United Nations!

Technology has taken big leap and military weapons are trusted to act autonomously, however are we ready to hand over the decision to kill human lives in the hands of these ‘Killer Robots‘ is still a big question!!

On 13th of April a meeting of robotics experts was held at the CCW (Convention on Conventional Weapon) Geneva, to discuss the future of ‘Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems’ (LAWS) or the ‘Killer Robots.’

A similar meeting was held way back  in May 2014 when the then acting  Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Michael Møller had said: “All too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened.” So the meeting held earlier this week was a second of its kind when the CCW experts met to discuss on the various lethal technologies which are emerging and also to get a grip on these technologies before they are put to use by the nations.

The word cyber security brings in front of our eyes the images of virtual networks and computers and also the way in which the software can be incorporated in destruction. However, the concept of cyber security has been generally restricted only to computers. Today, software has reached even to the military weapons and software is being deployed by various nations to build the major warfare machinery. With technology taking a huge leap the day is not far away when the weapons will be made totally autonomous, here the only question which is yet to be answered is are we ready to hand over the decision of killing human entirely in the hands of the autonomous killer weapons! The autonomous weapons that are already being used today requires to have to a person who gives the command to kill humans hence the decision here still lies in the hands of the operator who issues the command however in totally autonomous weapons it is still a question as to whom should we blame in case the AI decides to kill humans for no reason?

In her opening briefing, Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate and co-founder of the “Campaign to stop killer robots” clearly mentioned that “there is still time to say NO”. Williams further noted: “This is a decision that we as human beings can make. It is a decision that we must make. We must not cede the power of life and death over other human beings to autonomous machines of our own design. It is not too late.”

In 2013, certain questions arising from the concept of “Killer Robots” were clearly put forward by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that has been mentioned in the below lines: “Is it morally acceptable to delegate decisions about the use of lethal force to such systems? If their use results in a war crime or serious human rights violation, who would be legally responsible? If responsibility cannot be determined as required by international law, is it legal or ethical to deploy such systems?”

Basically the “Campaign to Stop the Killer Robots” actually calls for a “Preemptive Ban” on the LAWS, however it seems that UN is just discussing the lethal weapons and no further action will be taken as of now. Actually the precautionary ban can be brought into existence only after a mutual consensus among all the member nations who will unilaterally support to ban the killer robots. And if UN succeeds in getting a majority support to ban the killer robots then it would mean that the LAWS will be banned even before it is a reality. However, this will not be the first time that UN will be banning something before it is a reality, a similar decision was taken by UN in 1995 when “Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons” was banned by the UN because  it was supposed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects.

In the last few months many people have been discussing the potential threat of Artificial Intelligence to human beings. Stanford University has moved a step ahead and are working on a “100 year study on the effects of the Artificial Intelligence AI100”, basically this study constitutes the actual effects of AI on every aspect of human life.

On the other hand, many experts from the field of computer science and AI have signed an ‘Open Letter’ where the details of the researches that are in process are being added to the list to check the benefits of AI to the human race.

With all the discussions being held on the ‘Killer Robot’, France and UK seems to be pretty clear that they will not pursue such autonomous weapons. However, Israel and U.S. are still leaving the doors open for future acquisition of these weapons. In fact, none of the nations seem to be ready as of now on the preemptive ban of the LAWS.

What do our readers think about this decision should AI be introduced in the military weapons by creating virtual Killer Robots which can someday just try to think smarter than humans and start killing humans to protect their own clones “AI Killer Robots”……..do think about it!!

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