Pentagon hires British scientist to help build robot soldiers that 'won't commit war crimes'
2008 12 01
By Tim Shipman | telegraph.co.uk
The Pentagon aims to develop 'ethical' robot soldiers, unlike the indiscriminate T-800 killers from the Terminator films
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.
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.
Ronald Arkin, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech university, who is working on software for the US Army has written a report which concludes robots, while not "perfectly ethical in the battlefield" can "perform more ethically than human soldiers."
He says that robots "do not need to protect themselves" and "they can be designed without emotions that cloud their judgment or result in anger and frustration with ongoing battlefield events".
Airborne drones are already used in Iraq and Afghanistan to launch air strikes against militant targets and robotic vehicles are used to disable roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices.
Last month the US Army took delivery of a new robot built by an American subsidiary of the British defence company QinetiQ, which can fire everything from bean bags and pepper spray to high-explosive grenades and a 7.62mm machine gun.
But this generation of robots are all remotely operated by humans. Researchers are now working on "soldier bots" which would be able to identify targets, weapons and distinguish between enemy forces like tanks or armed men and soft targets like ambulances or civilians.
Their software would be embedded with rules of engagement conforming with the Geneva Conventions to tell the robot when to open fire.
Dr Allen applauded the decision to tackle the ethical dilemmas at an early stage. "It's time we started thinking about the issues of how to take ethical theory and build it into the software that will ensure robots act correctly rather than wait until it's too late," he said.
"We already have computers out there that are making decisions that affect people's lives but they do it in an ethically blind way. Computers decide on credit card approvals without any human involvement and we're seeing it in some situations regarding medical care for the elderly," a reference to hospitals in the US that use computer programmes to help decide which patients should not be resuscitated if they fall unconscious.
Dr Allen said the US military wants fully autonomous robots because they currently use highly trained manpower to operate them. "The really expensive robots are under the most human control because they can't afford to lose them," he said.
"It takes six people to operate a Predator drone round the clock. I know the Air Force has developed software, which they claim is to train Predator operators. But if the computer can train the human it could also ultimately fly the drone itself."
Some are concerned that it will be impossible to devise robots that avoid mistakes, conjuring up visions of machines killing indiscriminately when they malfunction, like the robot in the film Robocop.
Noel Sharkey, a computer scientist at Sheffield University, best known for his involvement with the cult television show Robot Wars, is the leading critic of the US plans.
He says: "It sends a cold shiver down my spine. I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination is terrifying."
Article from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/
Emotion robots learn from people
US robot builds copies of itself
Pentagon Prepares To Build $130bn Robot Army
Warbots to Replace Human Soldiers?
New Super-Gun from Metal Storm Inc.
Robot Demonstrates Self Awareness
Pentagon plans cyber-insect army
Remote Control Rodent 'Ratbots' Pass First Tests
Toyota to introduce home robots by 2010 (Video)
'We'll be able to upload our brains to a computer'
Robots, Cyborgs & A.I.
Latest News from our Front Page
Brooklyn DA exposes hidden Child Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community
2014 08 22
Comment: We all know that the sex abuse cases within the Catholic church have been plastered all over the media in the last 6-8 years, but when do you ever hear about the rapes, sexual molestation and child sex abuse cases within the jewish orthodox community? Is the media helping to cover it? Will they give the same treatment of ...
California’s Economic Collision Course: Immigration and Water
2014 08 22
You have heard it before: “As California goes, so goes the nation.” If that is the case, the national economy will be harmed for decades to come because of California’s misplaced priorities today. Indeed, by emphasizing high-speed rail over water and failing to deal with its debt crisis, California poses a long-term threat to our national economy and ...
ISIS offered to swap Foley for ’Lady Al Qaeda’ - neuroscientist MIT-graduate
2014 08 21
An MIT-educated neuroscientist terrorist known as ’Lady al Qaeda’ was named on a ’laundry list’ of demands from ISIS captors holding James Foley named, it was revealed today.
Petite mother-of-three Aafia Siddiqui is currently serving 86 years in a Texas jail after being arrested with plans for a ’mass casualty attack’ in the US, including infecting people with Ebola and a ...
James Foley beheaded - Financed by USA
2014 08 21
John McCain is a traitorous piece of garbage.
Last year McCain worked with the "Syrian Emergency Task Force" to help overthrow the Syrian government. Investigative work (see the detailed article below) revealed that this task force was just a front organization for AIPAC.
McCain met with known terrorists, including the infamous al-Qaeda. Yeah, the terrorist organization that was behind 9/11 received aid ...
’Hammer of Thor’ unearthed: Runes on 1,000-year-old amulet solve mystery of why Viking charms were worn for protection
2014 08 21
In Norse mythology, Thor’s hammer helped prevent giants from destroying Asgard, the celestial home of the gods.
Thousands of tiny intricate amulets, similar to this weapon, have been found all over the Viking world since the first millennium CE.
But for years, researchers have been unsure whether the amulets, known as ’torshammere’, were a representation of Thor’s hammer or something else entirely.
|More News » |