The debate on lethal robots is starting too late

The killer robots are coming, and they’re coming soon. Whether it’s self-piloted drones or Big Dog-style walkers, self-piloted crafts are already here, and adding autonomous weapons is a natural next step. By now, the question isn’t can we, but should we?

That question came to a head this April, when the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (or CCW) met in Geneva to discuss the issue, and in the wake of the meeting, a number of researchers and professors have weighed in publicly. Earlier this week, political scientists Michael Horowitz and Paul Scharre urged caution on autonomous systems in The New York Times, while Berkeley computer scientist Stuart Russell encouraged further debate with a column in Nature.

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Author: Russell Brandom

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