Autonomous killer robots are probably good news

In Ezio Di Nucci & Filippo Santonio de Sio (eds.), Drones and responsibility: Legal, philosophical and socio-technical perspectives on the use of remotely controlled weapons. London: Ashgate. pp. 67-81 (2016)
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Will future lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), or ‘killer robots’, be a threat to humanity? The European Parliament has called for a moratorium or ban of LAWS; the ‘Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention at the United Nations’ are presently discussing such a ban, which is supported by the great majority of writers and campaigners on the issue. However, the main arguments in favour of a ban are unsound. LAWS do not support extrajudicial killings, they do not take responsibility away from humans; in fact they increase the abil-ity to hold humans accountable for war crimes. Using LAWS in war would probably reduce human suffering overall. Finally, the availability of LAWS would probably not increase the probability of war or other lethal conflict—especially as compared to extant remote-controlled weapons. The widespread fear of killer robots is unfounded: They are probably good news.

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Vincent C. Müller
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


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