Autonomous killing machines are becoming a growing reality worldwide, one which has sparked intense debate and resulted in an increasing number of governments and civil society organisations calling for a ban over the use of the technology.
There is growing support worldwide for an outright ban over the use of fully autonomous weapons, also known as Killer Robots, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW). In its latest report, HRW details the publicly known positions of 49 countries on the development and use of Killer Robots following a global campaign to ban the technology, which was first initiated by an international coalition of civil society and other groups, in 2012.
Abishur Prakash is a geopolitical futurist at the Center for Innovating the Future (CIF), which focuses on the future of business and geopolitics. His latest book, The Age of Killer Robots, looks at the risks associated with societies handing power over to algorithms and machines. Mr Prakash tells Sputnik that it is too late to ban automated killing machines and that the focus now needs to be on controling how they work.
Sputnik: What do you think about the push to ban automated killer robots (autonomous weapons), is this really necessary?
Abishur Prakash: This is an outdated approach. The reality is that the key "decision makers," like US, Russia, China, India, Japan, Israel, United Kingdom, are all moving forward with autonomous weapons. For example, later this month, the US will pit an AI-fighter jet against a manned fighter jet in a simulation to see who is better. In Russia, researchers are developing systems that will allow soldiers to give voice commands to robots. The groundwork for killer robots is being laid down right now. Banning is no longer an option.
Now, the focus has to turn to control. How does the world control the behavior of killer robots? A lot of this I discuss in my new book, "The Age of Killer Robots," where issues like ethics and and ideas like "central brains" are explored in-depth.