Robotic Warriors: Who Will Be Morally Responsible?
Angela Kane, the UNís high representative for disarmament, wants to ban battlefield robots.
She worries that robots will be able to kill people without human intervention. Who is morally responsible for the deaths? Well, lets consider the possibilities. First, nobody is responsible. So humans escape the burden of responsibility. Second possibility: whoever sends the robots onto the field of battle (someone in the chain of command) is responsible.
As long as governments exist and have laws and human agency initiates battles I do not see the problem. Of course, if the robots turn on all of humanity and wipe us out then once we are gone we aren't responsible for anything.
What can go wrong with robotic warriors?
- Terminator scenario: Robots might turn on us.
- Software bugs cause killings of innocents around battlefields.
- Dictators could become impossible for oppressed people to overthrow. Especially problematic if the world was ruled by such a dictatorship. Nowhere to escape to or to get opposing robots.
Will robots increase or decrease the number of people killed in wars? Will robots do more to entrench or overthrow tyrannies? What do you think?
Randall Parker, 2014 August 30 04:28 PM
Dictators could become impossible for oppressed people to overthrow. Especially problematic if the world was ruled by such a dictatorship. Nowhere to escape to or to get opposing robots.
This is the biggest danger. Within 50 years, computer science will be sufficiently advanced for a small elite of a few thousand engineers to maintain the worldwide robot army in an object-oriented way, when the components of the robots will be manufactured by robotic factories, the robots will be repaired in robotic factories, and robots will also be mining the raw materials and fuels that are needed for the robot ecology to function. And if such a robot infrastructure is controlled by a dictatorship, then it will be impossible to overthrow it, and the robot police force can easily exile the majority of the population or even exterminate them.