Programmers Against Slaughterbots
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 20 November 2017

Autonomous weapons might sound like a good idea at first, why send soldiers to die, but the potential for misuse is obvious. You might not have thought of such as the slaughterbot - you need to see this.


Just watch the video made by a group called Stop Autonomous Weapons as part of a campaign to ban fully autonomous weapon systems:



If you know the technology then you will know that it is all very reasonable and not science fiction at all, even if it does seem like an episode of Black Mirror. What is perhaps more frightening than realizing that the scenario is possible, is the difficulty of working out counter measures. These bots are not fly-by-wire like current drones they are self-contained AI machines. You can start to think up protection from one drone - a wire mesh net say - but these drones can work as a swarm. They may only have a small amount of explosive each, but working together they can make a hole in any defense you care to put up.




Even if you build a 6 meter thick concrete bunker there is likely to be some way in you didn't think of - and air drones are just one option, snake robots are good at wriggling though small gaps and pipes. I can think of some defenses, but none are particularly easy and they all start a war of technological escalation.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, Ban Lethal Autonomous Weapons and the Future of Life Institute which backs both, are of the opinion that what we have to do is get governments to ban this sort of weapon. They are asking for your support by adding your name to a list of public opponents to the development of such weapons. They also want to you write to your elected representative. Both are a good idea, but a government ban, a global law or convention aren't going to stop the bad guys from creating such cheap and effective weapons.

The technology cannot be uninvented.

Perhaps what we need to do is work out countermeasures that are equally cheap and even more effective.


More Information

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Last Updated ( Monday, 20 November 2017 )