It only took decades upon decades of stories, movies, TV shows, and video games for humans to take a stand against the Killer Freakin’ Robots that won’t be programmed to sing and dance upon humanity’s grave, but they’ll do it anyway.
In April, the “Stop the Killer Robots campaign” will launch at the British House of Commons, brought together by a globally conscious group of notable academics, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and others who hope to reach a worldwide agreement to take preemptive action by banning the use of autonomous robots, such as drones, in wartime. With technology advancing far beyond the paperwork that’s supposed to guide the laws and morals behind that paperwork, drastic steps need to be taken in order to avoid a rise of the machines. And not just because of Nick Stahl’s John Connor. The group is hoping for results similar to the actions taken against cluster bombs and landmines. Make love, not war-crazed automatons.
“These things are not science fiction; they are well into development,” said Dr. Noel Sharkey, a robotics and artificial A.I. expert and Sheffield University professor. “The research wing of the Pentagon in the US is working on the X47B [unmanned plane] 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.”
Insisting he’s not anti-war, Sharkey’s focus lies more in a robot’s inability to tell the difference between the good guys and bad guys, since scientists are “struggling to get them to distinguish between a human being and a car.” The Geneva Convention isn’t very clear on how to handle things without a pulse. Though waterboarding it might mess with its circuits.
Sharkey posits the money to be made in the technology will overshadow the lack of time and understanding we have of these kinds of devices, and the havoc they can wreak.
“Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield would take technology too far,” says Steve Goose, a Human Rights Watch arms division director. “Human control of robotic warfare is essential to minimizing civilian deaths and injuries.”
I have to assume that things are about to get amazingly bad if these kinds of efforts are being streamlined. Is someone trying to tell me Pacific Rim is a documentary?