So, a bunch of hippies are whining about autonomous killer robots again. They’re all, ‘Robots are about to start killing people all over the place! Pretty soon they’ll be able to fire at will, without human oversight, and who’s to say they won’t confuse a 10 year-old girl with a softball bat for a 30 year-old terrorist with an AK-47?’
Those hippies, namely the Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, want an international ban on “the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons.” The peaceniks make an impassioned plea for a globe-spanning treaty that nips this trend towards autonomous killer robots in the bud, the Globe and Mail reports.
“Action is needed now, before killer robots cross the line from science fiction to feasibility,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch.
And the American military industrial complex is all, “Haha! Really? Ban killer robots? We build like 99% of that shit! We won’t even agree to ban landmines, why would we even consider reining in drones, our prez’s favorite death-tech? Because some dude with a ponytail told us to? Seriously? Also, we have never seen any of the Terminator films and are pretty sure killer self-guided robots end up making the world a safer and more fun place to live.”
Obviously, banning autonomous killing machines is a fine idea, and one that would require the unprecedented cooperation of the international community to make a forward-looking, intelligent decision for the good of all mankind. Obviously the United States isn’t going to do it. ‘But we agreed on that Geneva Convention stuff,’ you might protest—’we banned chemical weapons! We could do it again!’ Nah. We didn’t have a cottage industry whipping up anthrax back home when we signed on to that—with robo-weapons, we’ve got too much skin the game. Drones are what we do, they’re our big edge, and besides, the military industrial complex’s gotta chug on.
Also, no grade of weapon, no matter how horrible—chemical, anti-personell landmines—have ever been banned before they’ve gruesomely killed at least hundreds of thousands of people. So I doubt we’ll start pre-banning the nasty stuff now, especially since the industry’s so hot. No, we’ll have to wait until all those autonomous drones—maybe starting with this one, which switched itself on in Somalia —rise up and incinerate some coastal town in Virginia, “mistaking” it to be a terrorist compound. ’Till then, rise up, self-guided robot armies of the world.