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Soldier launching UAV  (Source: Sgt. 1st Class Michael Guillory, U.S. Army)
Robots with ethics could one day be used on the battlefield

The United States military continues to invest heavily into robotic technology, as the newer generations of robot-based soldiers will be programmed to understand battlefield ethics.

According to an article in the Army Times, the so-called 'ethical robots' would follow international laws.  Ronald Arkin, from the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote a book to discuss the future of robotics.

In "Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots," Arkin claims robotics, if programmed correctly, have numerous advantages over human ground troops.  Robots are emotionless , expendable, and can be customized for specific missions.  

It's possible the robots could be taught remorse, compassion and guilt, but exact senses the robots would be programmed with are still unknown.  Furthermore, depending on the determined level of guilt, and the mission being carried out, the firepower and effectiveness of weapons used will change.

The robots could also be used to monitor soldiers to ensure international treaties are being followed by U.S. and coalition ground troops.  Although many soldiers don't want to be monitored in such an intrusive manner, several high-profile cases of abuse and murder have further blemished the military's image among locals in Iraq.  

If funding is properly allocated for the research, it could be available in 10 to 20 years.  As the U.S. continues to fight wars using enhanced technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other unmanned resources have become popular alternatives to launching manned missions -- and is expected to further increase in the future.



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RE: Oh #$*$!
By Fritzr on 12/30/2009 4:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
Asimov did add a Zeroeth Law in his later books where he merged the Foundation universe with his Robots universe. In the trilogy telling the story of the creation of the Foundations, Robots ARE allowed to kill individuals in order to prevent harm to humanity as a whole

Isaac Asimov's Zeroth Law of Robotics: A robot may not harm humanity, or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm.

In a wartime situation this law would be extemely dangerous for the command structure as the robot could decide that a successful mission would cause greater harm to humanity and that assinating its own chain of command would be the greater good. This theme is what the movie I-Robot explored by having the robots decide that preventing humans from harming themselves or others justified occasional harm to a few.
quote:
The thought came to us from Caiaphas, the High Priest mentioned in the Gospel of John. In John 11:49-50 the Apostle John wrote, "And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not."
--http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_philosopher_said_th...


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