Thursday, February 03, 2005

Robots Fighting Terrorists?

Yes, the machines are rising. The military is developing robots equipped with night-vision, video-recording capacity, with tank treads and semi-automatic weapons to fight enemies from a distance. Some of the variations of the model even have flame-throwers.

These SWORDS(Special Weapons Observation Reconnaisance Detection Systems)would be monitored by hidden soldiers removed from the action, that would control them via remote.

This solution to war would definitely cut down on the amount of human casualties, at least on the part of the robot-owning and commanding party, but is it really a reasonable solution to the US need to replenish and keep its forces in Iraq or when they decide to invade Iran?

Soldiers are trained to be inhuman, to follow orders, unflinchingly. If they introduced robots that carried out orders from soldiers who followed orders from generals, the purpose would be even farther removed from its source, and a robot can be as ruthless as the person on the other side of the remote wants it to be.

Imagine what it would be like to negotiate with a robot. Would the robots themselves have a way of communicating to the enemy? Would there be audiorecording too? Imagine a robot trundling into your house in pitch black dark. You wake up to an expressionless face and a machine-operated machine-gun pointed at you saying, "Show yourself! I am a weapons-detection system. If you do not cooperate, you will be eliminated!"

It definitely provokes the imagination of our generation, nursed on science fiction and Star Wars. If we create machines to carry out our own investigations, who's to say they won't be tampered with? Coupled with a universe monitored by satellites from outer space and an evolving sophistication of artificial intelligence, who's to say the machines won't start interfering and fighting with each other? I mean, they are bound to be flawed or biased by their masters and creators. What the human eye can sense about the contradictions of certain situations and how well intended orders can sometimes lead to disaster, robots cannot. Although technically, the images that the robot provides would be exposed to a human monitor, they would be filtered and limited by the technology that is conveying them.

As much as I'd like to save human lives, this freaks me out. I do not want to hand over the control and execution of war over to machines. If these machines are really effective, they could be used to find unmanned weapons like buried landmines, so that they could be identified and quarantined, or act as surveyors, without the guns. When the ownership of a gun itself increases the risk of that person's family being accidentally shot in their own home, I don't think it's a good idea to increase that risk by having a machine that controls a gun that is supposed to coerce and control another human.

Robots are great, however, we have to remember that although they may have intelligence, they do not have emotional intelligence. Our physiology as humans is designed to feel and weigh ethical issues emotionally based on direct experience, where we can judge another person's body language and emotion in person. For example, mediators and other human violence interventionists are highly trained communicators who can negotiate solutions with fanatics because they provide an environment that is less threatening and provide options that they wouldn't otherwise have. I don't think robots are as versatile. Neither do I think we'll even get to the point where we have the authority to mediate those judgements through a robot.

So my opinion is, if you're going to make robots, please make them peaceful. It doesn't matter if they can hit a nickle sized target 80 metres away 70 times out of 70 shots, because someone will use that precision for evil purposes. However, using technology for war is already snowballing. You can find out more about the strategic mission, and how we allegedly need soldiers and fighters more than ever because we are living in a time characterized by "opportunity and danger" where according to House Armed Services Committee, that stated, in 2003 (after the weapons inspectors still couldn't find anything and Saddam was already ousted that "Iraq is also aggressively seeking nuclear weapons."

The only weapons of mass destruction that I know have ruined lives are the chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein used against the Kurds in the 90's. Since then, coalition forces have gone around the world dropping bombs and planting mines in the guise of saving the world from great danger.

Now that the Iraqi elections have taken place, I'm proud of them. However, I don't think the invasion and the war are good things. Obviously they are not over and it may not be for a long time because perhaps Iraq was just a launch pad for something even more horrendous and dangerous that coalition forces will not react to, but initiate. Bush has a big agenda.

So if a robot comes to your door, do not invite them in, do not talk to them, because they aren't who they say they are. There are two kinds of robots: nice ones and mean ones. I trust CP30 but not a SWORDS because one is fiction and one is real, one is adorable while the other may appear so, but is a real killing machine.

Filed under News Reviews

1 Comments:

Blogger Arancaytar said...

I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking that way. I had thought it was paranoia, but I was scared by this news article. It is not an issue of artificial intelligence; it is an issue of removing the one who presses the button even further from the place where the blood is flowing.

WWI held a world record in casualties partly because of the more efficient killing technologies. Someone (I can't find the quote) said the main advantage of the modern rifle is its range; the soldier does not see what he has done with his shot.

This will improve upon this effect.

2:11 PM  

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