killer robots are nearly available; they need to be directly controlled by humans who take responsibility for their actions

BNP Red, White and Blue festivalimagesCA7P43XA3robotsimagesCAHC3UVMsans-titreIncreasingly independent automated weapons are becoming possible with advances in technology and computing. Until recently for example it was not possible for a vehicle to travel cross-country autonomously for long periods of time. A problem which has now been overcome although there is still a dependence on a functioning global positioning system.

Potentially robots can come in all shapes and sizes on the battlefield, drones, automatic guns, missiles, bomb detection vehicles, mobile grenades for clearing buildings, miniaturized flying machines carrying video or a bomb.

It does not take much imagination to predict what could happen if an unscrupulous or deranged leader became able to use these autonomous machines. Much literature describes these scenarios, Issac Asimov indeed developed the rules of robotics and examined the possible consequences in his writings. It is not impossible to imagine that the time is near when a robot appropriately programmed could be used as a carer in an old people’s home, a prison guard, a soldier or an executioner.

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