Autonomy for robotic killers?


Fifth Estate # 396, Summer, 2016

On the frontiers of what has been termed “moral autonomy,” a long-range anti-ship missile is being developed for the U.S. military by Lockheed Martin Corp. which can pick its own target and destroy it independent of human minders. A team at George Mason University is also developing large groups of small robots that can work together to carry out tasks (which could include killing individuals or groups of people) without the need for humans to undergo the stress of making decisions or intervening in any way. The Pentagon realists, along with their counterparts in other nation-states, welcome the ghastly robotic potential as delivering the much sought after shelter from all responsibility for crimes committed in the service of the preservation of the system they defend.