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Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:32 AM

Killer robots must be stopped, say campaigners

Source: The Observer (UK)

'Autonomous weapons', which could be ready within a decade, pose grave risk to international law, claim activists


Tracy McVeigh, Saturday February 23 2013 21.52 GMT -

A new global campaign to persuade nations to ban "killer robots" before they reach the production stage is to be launched in the UK by a group of academics, pressure groups and Nobel peace prize laureates.

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, said Dr Noel Sharkey, a leading robotics and artificial intelligence expert and professor at Sheffield University. He believes that development of the weapons is taking place in an effectively unregulated environment, with little attention being paid to moral implications and international law.

The Stop the Killer Robots campaign will be launched in April at the House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons.

"These things are not science fiction; they are well into development," said Sharkey. "The research wing of the Pentagon in the US is working on the X47B which has supersonic twists and turns with a G-force that no human being could manage, a craft which would take autonomous armed combat anywhere in the planet.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/23/stop-killer-robots

44 replies, 4433 views

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Arrow 44 replies Author Time Post
Reply Killer robots must be stopped, say campaigners (Original post)
Turborama Feb 2013 OP
Deep13 Feb 2013 #1
PopeOxycontinI Feb 2013 #2
Ash_F Feb 2013 #28
DeSwiss Feb 2013 #3
geek tragedy Feb 2013 #4
tclambert Feb 2013 #34
WillyT Feb 2013 #5
longship Feb 2013 #6
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #8
longship Feb 2013 #20
OnyxCollie Feb 2013 #23
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #30
longship Feb 2013 #32
tclambert Feb 2013 #35
longship Feb 2013 #38
tclambert Feb 2013 #44
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #39
longship Feb 2013 #43
DRoseDARs Feb 2013 #11
Android3.14 Feb 2013 #15
bhikkhu Feb 2013 #7
DRoseDARs Feb 2013 #10
Orrex Feb 2013 #12
OneAngryDemocrat Feb 2013 #9
Katashi_itto Feb 2013 #13
KoKo Feb 2013 #14
Ian David Feb 2013 #16
jambo101 Feb 2013 #17
greiner3 Feb 2013 #18
ronnie624 Feb 2013 #19
Trillo Feb 2013 #21
malthaussen Feb 2013 #22
petronius Feb 2013 #40
primavera Feb 2013 #24
tclambert Feb 2013 #36
lunatica Feb 2013 #25
phantom power Feb 2013 #26
CJCRANE Feb 2013 #27
sakabatou Feb 2013 #29
triplepoint Feb 2013 #31
tclambert Feb 2013 #33
BadtotheboneBob Feb 2013 #37
sofa king Feb 2013 #41
blkmusclmachine Feb 2013 #42

Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:35 AM

1. Drones are only the tentative first step. nt

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:39 AM

2. Once again...

life more and more resembles an Onion article



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Response to PopeOxycontinI (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:58 PM

28. That's what I was thinking. Would have been a good Onion headline 10 years ago.

Nope... serious article. Serious headline.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:40 AM

3. If you want to stop the robots.....

...you have to stop the people who use them. Because they know they can't beat us all.

- So, as always, they count on us defeating ourselves.....

K&R



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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:48 AM

4. Time to renew that Old Glory insurance policy. nt

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:44 PM

34. For when the metal ones decide to come for you.

And they will.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 02:14 AM

5. K & R !!!


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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 02:21 AM

6. Here is one already deployed.



It's the Mars Science Laboratory Sky Crane which lowered the Curiosity Rover on the surface of another planet robotically, with no human intervention.

Before people become Luddites about this technology realize two things.

1. There is nothing inherently unethical about this specific technology. It can be used for both good purposes, or bad. NASA has been using it for decades, for good.

2. This technology is now available off the shelf to anybody, maybe not at the level of the MSL Sky Crane, but certainly on the level of simpler things, like surveillance. A digital camera can even be taken to the edge of space for 150 dollars.

And here's another site all about Do-it-yourself drones:
DIY Drones

You can scream at the top of your lungs, but we now live in a world where this technology is not only cheap, but available to anybody.

The tooth paste isn't going back in the tube. Being a Luddite about drones is not going to be a solution.

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Response to longship (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 04:14 AM

8. "There is nothing inherently unethical about this specific technology"

No, but there's a way it inherently fits into the global political dynamic that's very negative: A long time ago, for a few elite people to kill a whole lot of other people, they had to get a whole lot of other people to do it. They had to stir people into a frenzy using propaganda and the rest. These armies they would raise acted as a force multiplier of for the elite's personal power. However, people in them would learn, would start to seek their own self interest and turn away from war. This diminished the power of the elites whenever they did.

Oh, if only these wealthy elites could use property as a force multiplier instead of people! All the property they owns never questions, unlike the people in those armies!

Enter automated killing machines, the property you can own that kills people autonomously. With it, a wealthy few have an advantage over 99.9% of the world, a percent that would lead any human army to rebel and the killing to stop.

So in terms of an empowered populous, down the road this technology could turn into very dangerous stuff.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:37 AM

20. Well, murder is still illegal, the last time I looked.

And one can use poison, knives, guns, hands, etc. Now I suppose one could put these on an autonomous robot -- well, maybe not your hands -- but it would still be homocide which is prosecutable.

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Response to longship (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:59 AM

23. "Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal." nt

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Response to longship (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 04:22 PM

30. Ah, which brings us to danger #2.

That being the numerous ways its desirable to separate the controller from the machine, to make it act faster by automating its decision making process more and more, making the controller less and less of a micro-manager. This speed, and less need for user commitment, comes from artificial intelligence. Eventually, maybe even leading to the point where the machine increasingly takes responsibility for its actions, making the user less and less culpable.

I like to believe there is kind of a divine or transcendent ethical law, but that's not the scientist in me. The scientist in me observes that laws come from power. If lawmakers don't have the power to prosecute the laws, and to ensure that they are enforced. (backed up with force) than their laws don't matter. He with the army of death robots has the power to back up his will with force, and need not be constrained be legal limitations of his own design.



(Picture of cop robot from terminator-2, added for extra drama)

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #30)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:01 PM

32. The ethics are definitely something that needs to be discussed.

But the existence of the technology itself is unstoppable. High school students are building drones with off-the-shelf stuff for very little cost.

One cannot stop this technology even if one wanted to. The only possible solution is to regulate their use. That's where the focus should be, not opposing them altogether, which is a fool's errand.

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Response to longship (Reply #32)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:50 PM

35. No problem. We just program them not to harm humans. What could possibly go worng?

We simply write a few million lines of computer code with no bugs, no missspellings, no, improper, punctuation--you know, perfekshun.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #35)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 09:57 PM

38. We got perfection from the MSL Sky Crane.

And although it has a LASER on board, it is not a weapon. It also has several science devices on board. Hence its name, Mars Science Laboratory.

Not all drone uses are evil or unethical.

Those ethics will be undoubtedly be decided by treaty, which is the way these things have always been decided.

In the meantime we have drones on and/or around The Sun, Mercury, Mars, Saturn, and one on the way to Pluto. Oh, and don't forget the ones circling Earth which do all sorts of good things like climate and weather measurements, etc.

My purpose of posting these in these drone threads is to tone down the anti-drone rhetoric here and to balance it with the some of the good things of which this technology is capable.

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Response to longship (Reply #38)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 07:24 AM

44. I'm a big fan of space exploration. I support it even though some crash, like the Mars Polar Lander.

Curiosity's successful landing was wonderful, and the "seven minutes of terror" was very exciting.

I was just making fun. I'm actually on the robots' side. (I hope you future mechanical overlords will recognize that.)

Seriously (difficult for me), I look at it like automobiles. We accept thousands of deaths every year in order to have them. Like Isaac Asimov, I do not expect the Three Laws of Robotics to provide perfect protection for us from our mechanical servants. But we gotta have them, so we gotta try.

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Response to longship (Reply #32)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 01:08 AM

39. I really want a parrot AR



If the price goes down a little more, I'm on it. Its already a good deal at $299. So I'm not totally anti-drone.

But I reject the idea that technology just proceeds in this deterministic direction, and the only two directions are progress and stop. I think technology is more like the Parrot AR, where we go is a function of where we're looking. If we pour R&D in a certain direction, we will make progress that way. We have a choice, as to whether we are building tech that empowers people or diminishes our power.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #39)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 05:10 AM

43. You've nailed it! nt

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Response to longship (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:36 AM

11. Do you understand the concept of "autonomous target selection" or are you ignoring it?

I suggest you actually read the article this time and understand what it is exactly these people are trying to ban.

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Response to longship (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:44 AM

15. Here is some sense

Thanks longship.
Just imagine if our ancestors had formed the Stop the Killer Monoliths campaign just after the the opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Everything would be hunky dory today.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 03:11 AM

7. A mine is a type of killer robot

I suppose they are working on ones which are qualitatively a few steps beyond that, but the principles and problems are about the same. Note that mines are outlawed and not used by most civilized countries.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:32 AM

10. ... No it's not. You are conflating 2 things that are dissimilar. n/t

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:49 AM

12. A mine is a killer robot in the same way my toaster is an autonomous bread warmer

Landmines should be banned. Armed robots with autonomous target selection should be banned.

One has nothing to do with the other.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:19 AM

9. By Your Command...

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:29 AM

13. Skynet Symphonic

Pogo: "Comprising nothing but small sounds recorded from the James Cameron masterpiece 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day', 'Skynet Symphonic' is my tribute to one of the greatest action features of all time!

Each section is composed entirely of sounds from a major scene in the film. For example, the Terminator pounding on the fire escape door is used as a kick drum. Bones breaking play the role of a snare. Electrical disturbance acts as a crash cymbal."

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:32 AM

14. Recomend...worth the full read.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 09:14 AM

16. They eat old peoples' medicine for fuel. n/t

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 09:48 AM

17. Might already be too late

With the level of technology out there today and the technology companies doing their best to outdo each other by coming up with new ways to enslave us with the technology it amazes me that those same companies are striving to endow the world with artificial intelligence, i got a bad feeling about the day a computer can say i think i think,therefor i am Humans will become redundant very soon after.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:07 AM

18. Except for a brief mention;

In another post, no one mentioned the Anuld movies!

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:22 AM

19. "Sharkey insists he is not anti-war"

Like that's a bad thing.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:46 AM

21. Is this realistic, or just another utopian ideal?

Humans haven't been able to stop killing each other. Parents and and schools haven't been able to stop mentally brow-beating their kids. National Economies and their bankers haven't been able to stop poverty. Justice departments have only been able to bring "justice" to poor humans unable to defend themselves, rich entities like banksters aren't even prosecuted. The list goes on and is very long.

Is there any realistic hope that killer robots can be stopped? Or is this, instead, just another in an already long list of things we should do, but will never be able to do? Is this desire to stop autonomous killing machines just another utopian ideal, of the way it could be, someday somewhere, "in a perfect world".

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:04 AM

22. Time to dust off the old copy of Harry Harrison's "War With the Robots."

Didn't really expect this one in my lifetime. I forgot that our ingenuity is boundless when it comes to killing each other.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 01:32 AM

40. I was thinking of revisiting Second Variety...

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 12:01 PM

24. Funny, I was just reading the story about Ray Cusick...

... the designer of the Daleks, passing away today.

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Response to primavera (Reply #24)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:53 PM

36. Daleks are not robots!

They are cyborgs.

Come to think of it, Terminators are technically cyborgs, at least until their meat rots off.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 12:14 PM

25. Someday we can sell these to our enemies and just have a robot war with them

Peace will finally come at last!!

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 12:56 PM

26. Anbody interested in what we will probably all live to see, should follow Boston Dynamics

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:49 PM

27. When killer robots are outlawed...

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 04:20 PM

29. "Oh my god, they're gonna kill me!" (pic)

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:53 PM

31. Once the Last Control Loop is Closed...

 

and teleoperated robots go completely autonomous, life will truly have imitated "art." It seems to have all started with "Metropolis." Then there was Ray Bradbury's, "I Sing the Body Electric." Dr. Who's "Daleks," Star Trek's "Data," And don't forget the Terminator movie series...I'm sure I missed a bunch of them. Civilization truly appears to happily be on a trajectory towards a ubiquitous, computer-controlled world...and at such a blinding speed too!
.
.




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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:37 PM

33. I called them up and the Pentagon assured me I am perfectly safe

as long as my name isn't Sarah Connor.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 09:16 PM

37. Rise of the machines!

Hide Sarah Conner! Hide!

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 02:42 AM

41. I remember when that was a joke:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/we-can-put-a-man-on-the-moon-but-we-cant-make-kill,11010/

We Can Put A Man On The Moon, But We Can't Make Killer Robot Police?
Commentary Science & Technology Opinion ISSUE 3204 Aug 26, 1997
By Irene Frederick, Taxpayer

Every time I watch the news, I see another story about all the wonderful things NASA is doing in outer space. I know, I know, it's all supposed to be very impressive and exciting. But to be honest, it just boils my blood. I mean, the federal government can put a man on the moon, but it can't build a killer robot police force to keep the cars from roaring down my street at 45 miles per hour? What kind of priorities do we have in this country?

_______________________

And today? We can't put a man on the moon anymore, but we have flying killer robot police that specialize in blasting cars. I guess our priorities are straight now.

Poor The Onion. They thought they were being absurd, but they keep turning out to be dark prophets instead.

www.theonion.com/articles/bush-our-long-national-nightmare-of-peace-and-pros,464/

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 04:41 AM

42. Episode of Star Trek The Original Series (A Taste of Armageddon):

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Taste_of_Armageddon):

"In this episode, the crew of the USS Enterprise visits a planet whose citizens fight a computer simulated war with a neighboring enemy planet. The crew finds that although the war is fought by way of computer simulation, the citizens of each planet have to submit to real executions inside disintegration chambers based on the results of the simulated attacks. The crew of the Enterprise is caught in the middle and are told to submit themselves for execution after being "killed" in an "enemy attack.""

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