Aug 16, 2016

Should US Unleash War Robots? Frank Kendall Vs. Bob Work, Army

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.: The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, warned today that the US might hobble itself in future warfare by insisting on human control of thinking weapons if our adversaries just let their robots pull the trigger. Kendall even worries that Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work is being too optimistic when Work says humans and machines working together will beat robots without oversight.

These are unnerving ideas — and top Army leaders swiftly responded with concern that robots would shoot civilians if you take the human out of the loop. This is what Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Paul Selva calls the Terminator Conundrum: “When do we want to cross that line as humans? And who wants to cross it first? Those are really hard ethical questions.” They are also a fundamental question of combat effectiveness.

“Even in a more conventional conflict, we’re quite careful about not killing innocent civilians,” said Kendall. “I don’t expect our adversaries to all behave that way, and the advantage you have if you don’t worry about that as much, is you make decisions more quickly” — which can spell the difference between victory and defeat.

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