Killer Robots Await Donald Trump

Killer Robots

A report from Politico suggests that President-elect Donald Trump will have to decide whether the U.S. military adopts a technology to make killer robots.

The new military technology, based on artificial intelligence, turns robots into machines that can make life-or-death decisions. They can identify and eliminate suspected terrorists.

“We’re on the doorstep of what armed conflict looks like in the 21st century,” said August Cole, a security expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The military officials are in favor of using those lethal machines to find and attack targets. The fully autonomous weapons are believed to be the logical outgrowth of decades of development of intelligent weapons, which include precision-guided missiles and remotely piloted drones.

However, it’s going to take decades to deploy killer robots that operate free of all human supervision.

The Pentagon is conducting a review of those lethal weapons, as well as it has tested drones equipped with facial recognition software designed to identify enemy insurgents and target them at will.

“The next administration has to make some early decisions about when and where they will deploy those systems so they can be compliant with the laws of war,” said Heather Roff, a cybersecurity fellow at the policy think tank New America.

Human Rights Groups Want Ban on Killer Robots

But human rights groups and at least 19 countries are opposing killer robots and are calling for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

In addition, nine House Democrats this month sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter, warning that killer robots “would not simply be another weapon in the world’s arsenals, but would constitute a new method of warfare.” They also called for a ban on the development and use of the technology.

Human rights groups warn it’d be impossible to control the situation once those weapons are in widespread use.

As we saw in Yemen and Afghanistan and Tribal Areas of Pakistan – where the U.S. human-controlled drones – many innocent people were killed during operations again terrorists. And those self-directed machines could do more damage.

Among countries calling a ban are Pakistan, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Cuba and the Vatican, as well as a Stop Killer Robots campaign led by groups such as Human Rights Watch.