No Evil Robots

an evil robot

Prevent evil robots from taking over the world:
Just say no to robot weapons and violent robot competitions.

Robot Weapons

This BBC story describes the deployment of armed mobile robots by the US forces in Iraq in early 2005. The robot is teleoperated; a human pulls the trigger by remote control.

It is not a trivial matter to make this robot autonomous; it would require a sensor suite and control software that is at the very edge of the current state of the art, or beyond.

However, scientists and engineers now have a choice whether or not to develop future autonomous armed robots.

Taking a life is generally considered a major moral decision in which the killer, even a soldier in combat, bears individual responsibility. Autonomous weapons decouple the killer from the killed; compared to a conventional combat soldier or police officer, the deployer of a robot weapon faces reduced personal risk and may feel reduced responsibility for deaths that result.

Autonomous weapons promise to reduce these disincentives to the use of conventional weapons, with the risk that such weapons may be used more frequently.

Currently, autonomous killer robots do not exist. Control and sensing technology isn't quite to the point where we can make them work reliably. But everything else is in place, and many of the remaining problems look solvable in the medium-term.

As a robotics researcher, you can choose today whether you want to build autonomous killer robots. If we don't build them, they can never menace us and our families, and they can't take over the world.

Have an opinion?

Georgia Tech's "Opinion Survey on the Use of Robots Capable of Lethal Force in Warfare"

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