|Future Combat Systems|
Many people still find it hard to believe how fast computer power is merging with military technology. The rise of the robots is definitely here, and if not brought under control very soon we could see a dystopian fiction become a runaway reality.
Robots are gradually replacing humans in the workforce; at this point they are doing so in what would be considered assembly-line jobs where human error and exhaustion reasonably factor in. However, with the heralding of artificial intelligence, it is being projected that robots will take on higher employment roles, and even management positions in the relatively near future (2015-2018).
The manufacturing and employment ramifications are bad enough, but it is the military’s exploration of autonomous killer robots that is the ultimate concern, as the video report below highlights.
Again, citing soldier exhaustion and error, the military propaganda states that these robots will actually save lives, and could even prevent war crimes. However, as Human Rights Watch and The Nobel Women’s Initiative (two groups which can be criticized for their questionable political initiatives in other areas) have correctly detailed in their cautionary report on killer robots that once computer-driven machines are permitted to autonomously decide who is to be killed, with no human accountability, we have profoundly lost control over our own humanity.
Instead of a commitment to ending unjust wars, the military continues to use its endless funding to develop programs like MUSIC, which is a full-spectrum matrix of autonomous drones and machine weapons of war that can be integrated and powered indefinitely using lasers. And in case anyone still thinks that all of this will be employed exclusively overseas, Homeland Security has called to more than double the amount of drones flying over America, despite privacy and safety concerns.
The cautionary tale of a machine takeover of the human race has until now been contained to the realm of science fiction. However, even proponents of robotics, such as the great inventor Nikola Tesla who envisioned a future filled with intelligent cars, robotic human companions, and the use of sensors, warned against permitting autonomous growth and propagation of robotic systems.
We are on the cusp of a potentially disturbing future. Please share this information and support any campaign to bring an end to releasing this type of technology on the nation and the world.
For a fictionalized account of the machine/human ethics debate raised by The Economist’s digital editor Tom Standage in the video above, and what might happen if a robot goes rogue, please see the four-part webseries DR0NE, which begins HERE
Read other articles by Nicholas West Here