The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
The use of robots inevitably changes the equation for how police apply "use of force," a term that is broadly defined by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as the "amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject."
The robot used by the Dallas police department to kill Micah Johnson — the sniper who fired into a peaceful protest and killed five police officers, injuring others — was originally designed to defuse explosives. The police attached a pound of the explosive C4 to the robot, creating a makeshift weapon out of a design that was not intended to inflict harm on people. The robot was also remote-controlled, not autonomous.
Last week the Future of Life Institute released a letter signed by some 1,500 artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and technology researchers. Among them were celebrities of science and the technology industry—Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak—along with public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Daniel Dennett. The letter called for an international ban on offensive autonomous weapons, which could target and fire weapons without meaningful human control.
Patrick Lin made interesting observations on the ethical notion of human dignity in the context of LAWS. Even if LAWS could act in accordance with IHL, taking of human life by machines violates a right to dignity that may even be more fundamental to the right to life.
Download the attached PDF to read Patrick Lin's full testimony.
"However, existing legal restrictions "are inadequate to really deal with this fundamental change in technology and warfare," said Peter Asaro, an assistant professor at The New School, who cofounded the International Committee for Robot Arms Control and is spokesperson for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.
"As Professor Patrick Lin of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo pointed out in his analytic address to the panel on April 16, “war is terrible, and all such (war) weapons are terrible, but some are more terrible than others.”"
"“There is a question to be asked here about whether allowing machines to kill people diminishes the value of human life for everybody, even if you are not being killed by a robot,” says Peter Asaro, an assistant professor in the School of Media Studies at the New School in New York and a spokesman for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots."
"Peter Asaro, at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society and a member of the International Committee on Robot Arms Control, is attending the talks. He says there is growing consensus that it is unacceptable for robots to kill people without human supervision.
"“We’ve been focusing on trying to define what an autonomous weapon is so it can be the basis for an international agreement,” explained Peter Asaro, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School, as well as the co-founder and vice chair for theInternational Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), and a spokesperson for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. I interviewed him about his work
"The conference was organized by UW professor Ryan Calo. He said there’s a role for regulation of robot use in politics to influence elections or deceptive robots used for defrauding people.
“Imagine an artificial intelligent girlfriend that was really just everything you ever wanted and knew everything you thought you wanted, but one of the things it helps you to do is purchase only from the clients of the company that made it,” Calo said.
"Given these conflicting reports, we cannot be sure that the SGR-A1 has an autonomous function. But we can confidently say that neither Samsung Techwin nor South Korea could admit to it even if it did. Why is that? Peter Asaro, co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), hints at one plausible reason: the South Koreans “got a lot of bad press about having autonomous killer robots on their border.” This “bad press” is largely a result of advocacy groups out to ban lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS).
"“Information by itself can commit a crime now,” Calo said by phone.
"Peter Asaro has spent the past few years lobbying the international community for a ban on killer robots as the founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. He believes that it’s time for “a clear international prohibition on their development and use.” According to him, this would let companies like Clearpath continue to cook up cool stuff, “without worrying that their products may be used in ways that threaten civilians and undermine human rights.”"
Hours after gunman Micah Johnson ambushed police officers in downtown Dallas, he was killed by a bomb strapped on a police robot. Robots in the past have stopped a lot of dangerous situations, but using a robot to kill - that was a first for a domestic police force. Kris Van Cleave reports on the ethical questions about the use of robots to kill suspects.
Affiliate Scholar Peter Asaro is interviewed.
Robotic warfare is no longer the realm of science fiction. From drones to the development of lethal, autonomous robotic weaponry, we take a look at the ethics of the future of killer robots and where this will ultimately lead mankind.
Are you worried about killer robots? Last week, some of the most prominent thinkers in science and technology signed an open letter that warned of the coming arms race should militaries pursue the development and deployment of artificially intelligent weaponry. The letter was written by The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an international coalition of NGOs, and was signed by almost 14,000 people, including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak.
It may be old news here in Hollywood -- but the world’s scientists are now warning us about killer robots. Hundreds of scientists, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk wrote an open letter released this week, in which they warned of a global A.I. arms race.Peter Asaro
CIS Affiliate Scholar David Levine interviews Peter Asaro of the School of Media Studies at The New School, on killer robots.
Killer robots — or lethal autonomous weapons systems — could be the future but should they have a mind of their own to decide who lives or dies?
It is a complex topic being debated at a expert convention in Geneva.
Beverley O'Connor speaks to Dr Peter Asaro, who is the co-founder and vice-chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.