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.
"A robot’s lack of emotion is precisely what makes many people uncomfortable with the idea of trying to give it human characteristics. Death by robot is an undignified death, Peter Asaro, an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said in a speech in May at a United Nations conference on conventional weapons in Geneva. A machine “is not capable of considering the value of those human lives” that it is about to end, he told the group.
"Peter Asaro, vice-chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, notes that companies like Google are thinking about the issue of ethics for AI more generally (Google agreed to form an internal ethics board when it acquired the AI company DeepMind this year). And last October, 270 roboticists, AI experts, and other technologists signed a letter calling for an autonomous weapons ban."
""I think it is quite likely that these systems will behave in unpredictable ways, especially as they grow increasingly complex and are used in increasing complicated environments,” Peter Asaro, cofounder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control emailed me from Geneva. “It is also increasingly likely that they will fail, breakdown and malfunction in less predictable ways as they become more complex.""
"Autonomous weapons don’t actually exist yet, but with the rapid advancements being made in robotics, there are troubling signs, said Peter Asaro, co-founder and of the New York-based International Committee for Robot Arms Control.
He cited the 2010 “flash crash” on the New York Stock Exchange that was ignited by a frenzy of computerized trading that drove down the stock prices of major companies."
"“Allowing machines to determine who should live or die in a conflict is an issue that concerns all states. The United States has articulated its policy on fully autonomous weapons, but we need more countries to develop national policy on this emerging topic of international concern, including Canada.” said Peter Asaro, Co-Chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control."
"Peter Asaro, however, is not impressed with this domino theory of agency. A philosopher of science at The New School, in New York, and co-founder of ICRAC, Asaro contends robots lack "meaningful human control" in their use of deadly force. As such, killer robots would be taking the role of moral actors, a position that he doubts they are capable of fulfilling under International Humanitarian Law. That's why, he says, these systems must be banned."
Peter Asaro, the director of graduate programs at The New School for Public Engagement’s School of Media Studies, is a killer robot expert, and an active member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, as well as the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. Calling these machines “autonomous lethal weapons systems,” Asaro’s exploration of the ethical issues raised by the technology, as well as what it means for the future of warfare, is the topic of this month’s Research Radio feature, Killer Robots.
"M. Ryan Calo, a University of Washington law professor with expertise in robotics and data security, notes that there are upsides to robotic warfare, like the speed at which computers can make decisions and their ability to approach problem-solving in ways that are beyond humans."
"On Wednesday, May 29th in Geneva, Switzerland, a United Nations report will be presented on the moral problems of using autonomous weapons (or "killer robots") in modern warfare. Host Ric Young talks with Dr. Peter Asaro, Vice-President of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control in Geneva, Switzerland."
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.