Automated robots programmed to terminate human life are already in use, in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on the borders on many of the more powerful western nations. Thankfully, they still require an actual human to pull the trigger, but this is merely a technicality. US military leaders have already expressed their desire to have fully automated robot death squads, and are ready to put their money where their mouth is:
Washington plans to spend four billion dollars by 2010 on unmanned technology systems, with total spending expected rise to 24 billion, according to the Department of Defense’s Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032, released in December. James Canton, an expert on technology innovation and CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, predicts that deployment within a decade of detachments that will include 150 soldiers and 2,000 robots.
However, like every other technological innovation of war, designed to be used against the “enemy”, its only a matter of time before that technology is turned against us. And when you’re talking about killer robots, things get dicey real fast:
Captured robots would not be difficult to reverse engineer, and could easily replace suicide bombers as the weapon-of-choice. “I don’t know why that has not happened already,” he said.
But even more worrisome, he continued, is the subtle progression from the semi-autonomous military robots deployed today to fully independent killing machines. “I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination terrifies me,” Sharkey said.
Scary shit man. 2029 isn’t all that far away. Hopefully John Connor’s still kicking it somewhere.