The New School + #SXSW: Faculty Members Talk A.I. for Social Good at XPRIZE Futurecasting Workshop

"Speaking to a crowd of captivated futurists at the Speakeasy in Downtown Austin at #SXSW, Peter Asaro warned of a future in which “autonomous weapon systems are delegated with the authority to initiate the use of lethal force” — in other words, a world where killer robots get to decide who lives and dies.

Even if you haven’t seen Terminator or The Matrix, that reality isn’t hard to imagine: using existing knowledge and drone technology, states could create weaponry that would independently neutralize military or civilian targets in a way that’s completely faceless and inhuman.

Asaro is working to avert that reality by bringing ethics to bear in the development and implementation of military robotics.

“We have the power to transform norms — what is acceptable and not acceptable in society,” says Asaro, Professor of Media Studies at The New School and a philosopher of science, technology and media. “If we’re deliberate about the norms we want to build around technology, we’ll have a better society.”"