According to Quartz, a recent report released by Pax, a nonprofit that campaigns for world peace, says that the killer robot might be arriving sooner that we think.
Called the “third revolution of warfare,” Pax points out that manufacturers are already producing autonomous robots for warfare, and countries are already utilizing them on the battlefield. For example, the United States’ military currently uses full autonomy in some of its Navy shipboard missile defense systems, “which is designed to intercept enemy fire on its own,” Quartz says. The United States Army is also developing an AI-capable cannon that can “select and engage targets on its own.” While each of these is consider an autonomous solution, both weapons still require human engagement to “pull the trigger.”
However, calls for international regulations of these autonomous weapons have been passed over by some countries, including the United States. The major fear is that without these regulations, countries might develop and deploy autonomous weaponry that could “select and attack targets on their own without human oversight,” Quartz reports. If that were to happen, it could be much easier for countries to go to war, and more difficult for legal experts to determine who would be responsible if an autonomous weapon broke an international law.
It’s Not Too Late
While there is still concern over the future of autonomous robots in warfare, Pax believes there’s still time to nip major catastrophes in the bud, Quartz says. First and foremost, the companies that develop these robotic solutions should veer from manufacturing robotics that are fully autonomous for use in battle. Pax also suggests that companies consider having autonomous projects assessed by an ethics committee, ensure human control is still integrated in developed solutions, and ensure that company employees are made aware about what they’re working on and encourage discussion over any concerns.
Doing so can enable companies to develop the best possible solutions to keep their countries and militaries safe, while also keeping the reigns in human hands. In other words, humans can maintain control, and prevent killer robots from taking over.