July 17, 2014

One Congressman’s Crusade to Save the World From Killer Robots

By Paul Scharre

Source: National Journal

Journalist(s) Alex Brown

If a robot soldier commits a war crime, who is held accountable?

You can't punish a collection of parts and coding algorithms. But can you blame a human commander, who gave a legal order only to see the robot carry it out incorrectly? And what about the defense manufacturers, which are often immune from the kind of lawsuits that would plague civilian outfits if their products cost lives.

The culpability question is one of a host of thorny moral dilemmas presented by lethal robots. On the one hand, if effective, robot soldiers could replace ground troops and prevent thousands of American casualties. And robots aren't susceptible to many of the weaknesses that plague humans: exhaustion, sickness, infection, emotion, indecision.

But even if robot warriors can keep American lives out of danger, can they be trusted with the complicated combat decisions now left to human judgment?

Read the full article at National Journal

  • Paul Scharre

    Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program

    Paul Scharre is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is author of the forthcoming book, A...