The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots... is a thing.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is an international coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) launched in April 2013. We are working for a ban on fully autonomous weapons (robotic weapons that would be able to choose and fire on targets on their own without any human intervention).


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10 Responses:

  1. Edouard says:

    I'm happy to report that none of the giant robots I worked on have killed anyone yet. Which was a surprise given some of the codebase...

  2. gryazi says:

    TL;DR - the difference between a killer robot and a relatively dumb heat-seeking missile is time in flight, right? Except a land mine has a rather long one.

    I've been clinging to a belief that the liability problems are enough to keep us from getting this stupid [as far as us in the US widely deploying any such thing] right now, but the more addicted we get to drones and the convenience of stationing troops a world away from our wars, the more we erode this crap until 'autopilot with fire control' seems like a reasonable evolutionary step. And then, of course, there's this thing, which can patrol a programmed track... which would 'just' be maintaining an unmanned keep-out zone like in the good ol' days as long as it doesn't stray off the track. [So is it more ethically palatable to put your killbots on rails? Or do you at least get a discount on your insurance?]


    There's also a cute little Christmas story about some kids meeting a (Soviet, because we'd never do any such thing) killbot outside their fallout shelter - complete with glowing red nose, obvs - in some '80s or early '90s Analog, but damned if I still have it or can remember the author or title. Anyone know?

    • Ronald Pottol says:

      Well, sure, but the heat seeking missile is launched at a specific target, and the mine just sits there.

      Anti ship missile however often cruse with specific target, but turn on their targeting system when they reach a specific point, pick a target, and attack it.

      Still, these are limited systems, it is easy to imagine systems that are not.

      • James says:

        You may say that a mine is limited by its static physical position, but is it any more limited in the capacity to produce hatred?

        • gryazi says:

          Seems like the difference is the ability to offer surrender.

          In the naval and air cases, theoretically there's the opportunity for radio (or sonar?) contact.

          Drones have a human in the loop for now but unless you're carrying a white flag all the time (or even if you are), good luck with that.

          Mines are dumb and disgusting but that's "their fault" for entering the keep-out zone - like a highway in Iraq or Afghanistan, oops. (Except for the version that has a human in the loop with a trigger there, too.)

          So clearly to comply with US law we need RFID transceivers on these things that detect US passports and tootle your Miranda rights before they fire a warning shot leading to an 'accidental death in custody.' (Except we don't, becuse enh.)

          I'm just going to sit here and fantasize about a word that puts this much effort into anything that benefits people enough that they wouldn't be so pissed off and crazy. [Goes for "their side" too lest this come off as a "we should drop unicorns and rainbows" thing. Although the Farley comic with the MDMA canisters was a nice thought albeit verboten because you're only allowed to change "the enemy's" minds with deadly force and not party chemicals.]

          Hey, if the US does decriminalize the green stuff, can we at least drop brownies the way we used to hand out cigarettes?

  3. Ted Mielczarek says:

    It depresses me that this is both plausible and necessary. I guess the grim meat hook future arrived while I wasn't paying attention.