May 26, 2015

The Morality of Robotic War

By Michael Horowitz and Paul Scharre

Earlier this month, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was released in theaters across the United States, featuring Marvel comics superheroes battling evil robots powered by artificial intelligence and hellbent on destroying humanity.

Sentient military machines still remain in the realm of science fiction, but some autonomous weapons are already technically possible today. And the role of autonomy in military systems is likely to grow as armies take advantage of the same basic technology used in self-driving cars and household robots. Autonomous weapons are not the same as drones. A drone is remotely piloted by a person, who makes the decision to fire its weapons. In contrast, an autonomous weapon is one that, once activated, can select and engage targets on its own.

Read the full op-ed in The New York Times.

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