Military robots wonted…. No morals needed.
Robots to kill people?
"It's a very difficult question," Daniilidis said. "Engineers should be involved in the discussion because they can define where the autonomy boundary is."
John Pike, a weapons analyst and director of GlobalSecurity.org, said the engineers were being naive about the long-term use of their work.
"No one's really thought through where this might be heading, and you're certainly not going to get those nice engineering-school people to talk about it. . . . They only make nice robots."
Look at who pays for their research, he said, referring to military agencies. "The profession of arms is about killing the enemy." Most flesh-and-blood soldiers, he said, may be reluctant to kill. According to studies, he said, "two-thirds of the people who sign up for the military aren't capable of killing." They either fail to fire or simply spray bullets wildly.
Robots would have no such reservations, he said. "They will be stone-cold killers and they will be infinitely brave."
"The bad news is we'd be a rogue superpower going around blowing everyone up," he said. "On the other hand, we could end genocide" without having to sacrifice thousands of American lives.
Finkelstein of Robotic Technologies foresees robots replacing people in many commercial applications. He envisions robots driving cars, and far more safely than humans.
And other countries will develop fighting robots. "Then you're into a technological arms race," he said.
Georgia Tech's Arkin has been writing and speaking on what he calls robo-ethics. The most important consideration, he said, is to hold onto today's ethical principles - "what humanity has deemed ethical behavior."
That means the use of appropriate weapons - "not nuking people back to the Stone Age - and it means no unnecessary suffering." Technically, he said, robots could be programmed with certain constraints.
"I'm happy to assist our war fighters with the best technology we can deliver them," he said. "But I want to make sure we're not selling our souls in the process."