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Is It Ethical To Develop Fully Autonomous Weapon Systems? | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Is It Ethical To Develop Fully Autonomous Weapon Systems?

Starting with the First Gulf War in 1991, America’s advanced military technology has been put on display. Images of precision guided bombs hitting their target with devastating effectiveness were brought right into our living rooms on CNN. Since that time, there have been big advances in stealth technology and the development of state of the art weapon systems such as lasers, electromagnetic rail guns and smart bullets. One of the most controversial weapon systems that is being worked on are those called Fully Autonomous Weapons.

What Is A Fully Autonomous Weapon System?

These weapon systems are not like drones or other remotely controlled weapons platforms; they make the decision whether to fire or not totally on their own based solely on the artificial intelligence programmed into them. Unlike their human counterparts in combat situations, they use no human judgment or human thought process to decide when it is time to pull the trigger. Personally, that is a very scary thought when something or someone can make a life or death decision that is totally devoid of consequences.

Autonomous WeaponsNo matter how sophisticated the computer program is that guides an autonomous weapon system, you will never be able to give it the human qualities of compassion and quick thought. Take this scenario for instance: you have a fully autonomous weapon system that is deployed in a hostile area and that system is programmed not to fire unless it detects a weapon; if a group of young children are coming home from target practice (remember its very common for young kids to be trained with weapons at an early age in some parts of the world) they theoretically could meet all the parameters for that system to fire and you would have a massacre on your hands. A trained soldier would be wary, but would probably be prudent enough not to fire on this group of kids.

Is It The Future?

I like to think that the forward thinkers that write books and movies are on to something at times. A good example of that is George Orwell’s “1984,” which was published in 1949 and foretold of a government that knew our every move; and now we have a CIA and FBI that has virtual carte blanche to get whatever information they need on anybody. In the movie “Robocop,” a fully automatic weapons system went rogue and killed a lot of people; I am hoping a scenario like that stays confined to just the movies.

Earlier this year, there was a conference in Geneva that was loosely sponsored by the UN to address the very issue of the ethics and the legality of autonomous weapons systems. The meeting did not come to any concrete conclusions, and they expect this technology to be another twenty years in the making; but, current USA, German and South Korean technologies make the timeframe on these fully automated weapons systems look like it will be here a lot sooner than that.

I for one am not a fan of fully automatic weapons; there is something very scary to me about taking the human element out of any live fire situation. We will just have to wait and see what develops in the near future with this type of technology.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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