Home > Scary Future > Robots will kill you…

Robots will kill you…

but when they do it they’ll really mean it.


An article in yesterday’s NY Times Science section, titled A Soldier, Taking Orders from her Ethical Judgement Center, features Ronald C. Arkin, computer scientist at Georgia Tech.  Arkin is developing software for, what he says, will eventually be autonomous robots that will give them information crucial in war-time combat to determine which targets are worth hitting and which aren’t.  In other words he believes, “that intelligent robots can behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans currently can.”  He also seems to think that “The important thing is not to be blind to it…this is not a ‘Terminator’-style science fiction but grim reality.”

I’m pretty sure once you start programming combat robots to make decision for themselves we’re getting pretty damn close to it though.

In Arkin’s defense these robots would be programmed with appropriate rules of conduct but, also, they’d be programmed by humans and my paranoid little sci-fi rattled brain doesn’t think that will be fool proof either.

On one side, yes, logical calculation of attack could most definitely be useful for avoiding civilian casualties but what happens if an enemy say, takes civilians hostage.  Removing an emotional component would also remove a factor of empathy that shouldn’t be written off entirely.

Also I don’t want to get shot by a scary robot.

  1. November 30, 2008 at 11:21 PM

    French robots, zut alors!

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