What if the next war is not fought by human soldiers but by killer robots? This scenario does not seem as far away as many think, as several countries including the U.S. and Russia are working to acquire this type of weapon. However, one should not think of these fully autonomous weapons as semi-autonomous drones where a human can still decide on the target. These are fully autonomous robots that use sensors, software, and AI to decide what to kill. What sounds like it comes from another Hollywood movie could soon become the greatest horror of mankind.
Lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) are what these types of weapons are called, and now negotiations over the regulation of so-called LAWS are apparently breaking down. The UN is trying to negotiate the regulation of such weapons systems by urging countries to be aware of the dangers of such systems. Now that a number of countries have invested a huge amount of capital in the development of LAWS, uniform regulations seem to be a long way off. Apparently, among the countries rejecting regulation are the U.S., Russia, and India.
“A clear majority of nations see the need to ensure meaningful human control over the use of force. Now is the time for them to take the lead in preventing the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of killer robots,” said Richard Moyes Coordinator of Stop Killer Robots.
If in the future robots themselves will decide about life and death, this could be another dark chapter of humanity. AI systems are now smarter than humans, which makes the whole story even scarier. The sufferers are the same as in every war, the normal people who suffer under the warlords. Consequently, whether human soldiers or killer robots, people will die and nothing but losers will remain.