Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I, Robot, Declare My Independence From Human Control

       Well, here's the latest news from our techno-wizards in the Military/Industrial Complex.  In an article published in The Washington Post on September 19, which I guess makes it more or less official, we now know that the Pentagon is moving right along in testing to create killer drone aircraft that can seek out targets on the ground without any human control.

       In an article titled, "A Future For Drones: Automated Killing," Peter Finn tells us that in recent successful tests conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia, "automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no hand on any control."

       The military scenarios seem to envision complex battlefields with many drones in the air, programmed to make quick decisions about whom to kill.  That's right, machines programmed to decide whom to kill.

       Of course, there are a few legal and ethical issues to consider, but one of the Army Research Office's own is quoted as saying, "Lethal autonomy is inevitable." (Of course, right now, there is also this.)

       Great.  Just great.

       I remember Isaac Asimov's book,  I, Robot, which imagined a day when robots would be numerous, but preprogrammed to do no harm to human beings.  But that was pious science fiction of a few decades ago.  The actual science fact of today is to produce robots preprogrammed with the intention to seek out and kill people.

       If a robot kills someone, is it not acting as a terrorist?  Should not its creators be hunted down and eliminated?

       Do you think this monstrous idea will be canceled after a serious debate in the Congress?  I don't.  I think the debate will center around whether the manufacturing plants will be located in Republican or Democrat congressional districts.  Who gets the money?

       Here's another question.  Will we keep these "lethal autonomy" flying machines to ourselves for use on Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Iranians and Yemenites, or will we share them with Israel for use on Palestinians?  Or smuggle the technology to the government of Pakistan, wanting them to be used on their tribal areas?

       I guess it doesn't matter much, does it?

       Remember to keep telling yourself, "They hate us for our freedoms."

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Comments welcome.


  1. Right now the remotely controlled drones that we use are being flown by E-4's and E-5's, pay-grades (and I call them by their pay-grades and not their rank because 90% of them don't deserve their rank) that one hardly needs a GED to attain of course they are programmed to obey the officers appointed over them, but I am more scared of one of them going rogue then an automated computer system... That's my opinion.

  2. when is the US launching Skynet? Take choices between the Hamenegger Terminator or The Matrix movies.