It sounds like science fiction, but it’s a very real and contentious debate that is making its way through the U.N. Advocates of a ban want all military weapons to be under “meaningful human control.”
Georgia Tech’s Ron Arkin, who is one of the country’s leading roboethicists, says hashing out that distinction is important but the potential benefits of killer robots should not be overlooked.
“They can assume far more risk on behalf of a noncombatant than any human being in their right mind would,” he says. “They can potentially have better sensors to cut through the fog of war. They can be designed without emotion — such as anger, fear, frustration — which causes human beings, unfortunately, to err.”
This is a very important topic for the future, and it is a lot more serious and complicated than the media tends to treat it (as shown by calling them “killer robots” like a 1970s B horror flick, and saying that “nobody wants Cylons and Terminators”).