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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday April 14 2015, @11:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the actually-taken-over-by-Cybermen dept.

The UK is opposing international efforts to ban "lethal autonomous weapons systems" (Laws) at a week-long United Nations session in Geneva:

The meeting, chaired by a German diplomat, Michael Biontino, has also been asked to discuss questions such as: in what situations are distinctively human traits, such as fear, hate, sense of honour and dignity, compassion and love desirable in combat?, and in what situations do machines lacking emotions offer distinct advantages over human combatants?

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an alliance of human rights groups and concerned scientists, is calling for an international prohibition on fully autonomous weapons.

Last week Human Rights Watch released a report urging the creation of a new protocol specifically aimed at outlawing Laws. Blinding laser weapons were pre-emptively outlawed in 1995 and combatant nations since 2008 have been required to remove unexploded cluster bombs.

[...] The Foreign Office told the Guardian: "At present, we do not see the need for a prohibition on the use of Laws, as international humanitarian law already provides sufficient regulation for this area. The United Kingdom is not developing lethal autonomous weapons systems, and the operation of weapons systems by the UK armed forces will always be under human oversight and control. As an indication of our commitment to this, we are focusing development efforts on remotely piloted systems rather than highly automated systems."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by rondon on Tuesday April 14 2015, @11:54AM

    by rondon (5167) on Tuesday April 14 2015, @11:54AM (#170340)
    Please allow me to translate the quote (my translation changes in bold), "At present, we do not see the need for a prohibition on the use of Robots that can murder people, as international humanitarian law already provides some small amount of insufficient regulation for this area that we feel we can safely ignore. The United Kingdom is not developing lethal autonomous weapons systems that we can tell you about right now, and the operation of weapons systems by the UK armed forces will always, when convenient for us, be under human oversight and control. As an indication of our commitment to this, we are very good at pretending to be focusing development efforts on remotely piloted systems rather than highly automated systems."
    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gravis on Tuesday April 14 2015, @12:37PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Tuesday April 14 2015, @12:37PM (#170360)

    The United Kingdom is not developing lethal autonomous weapons systems that we can tell you about right now

    this is dead on. the ultimate goal of semi-autonomous warfare systems is to become full-autonomous.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by zocalo on Tuesday April 14 2015, @01:40PM

    by zocalo (302) on Tuesday April 14 2015, @01:40PM (#170383)
    Even taken at face value it's a dumb statement showing a complete failure to grasp the potential implications. "*We're* not developing them, so we don't see the need for laws"? What about everybody else that *IS* developing them, and what happens if, at some point in the future, a country using those robots decides to deploy them against what remains of the UK military, or its civillian population? Sure, an international moritorium on a given weapon will always be ignored by someone (pretty much everyone, actually) but at least it curtails their development and use, and is more likely to bring international condemnation and retaliation down on any nation that actually chooses to deploy them.
    --
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday April 14 2015, @11:08PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 14 2015, @11:08PM (#170618) Journal

      Dumb, perhaps. But not without purpose, I suspect.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14 2015, @04:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14 2015, @04:39PM (#170448)

    "Robots that can murder people": As long as we don't have a strong AI, robots cannot murder people. People can murder people with the use of robots, but robots are not morally responsible subjects. If a robot kills a human in a situation in which it is considered to be a murder, then the one who committed the murder is not the robot, but the human who set the robot in action.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14 2015, @05:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14 2015, @05:55PM (#170472)

    Thanks for the Doublespeak to English translation!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14 2015, @06:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14 2015, @06:58PM (#170497)

      "Robots don't kill people, people kill people!" Brought to you by the NRO, the National Robot Overlord association, defending the right to bear armed robots since 2016.

      (In the future, look for the "accidental discharge defense": "My robot just went off by itself! It was an accident! I was just cleaning my robot, and "blam", no more annoying roomate. Accident, I swear!")