Monday, February 2, 2009

Do Packbots Dream Electric IEDs?

Last week in this post I said that robot and cyborg ethics are suddenly becoming a big issue - and now, for your enjoyment, here's the debate about whether or not killer bots in the field need to have a Bill Of Rights...

Until these robots can perceive damage as "pain," and until they are given a sense of "self-awareness" (as in "That's *me* that's *hurting* and in danger of *death* there!") then I don't think they are more than a finely-honed tool, no different to the electronics in modern vehicles that keep the vehicle running, perform diagnostics, and scan for and possibly react to their surroundings in a limited way.

As such, they should be entitled to the same kind of consideration you give to your car, your refrigerator, and a range of robotic toys - harming them for harm's sake is just not productive nor is it a very human thing for you to do, and you're basically hurting yourself and people (and kids) around you more than you're "hurting" them.  Try and save the duco, don't let them run out of oil, and operate them safely.  (Well, safely for your own soldiers and civilians, at any rate...)

But who knows, maybe the Defense Dept's are way ahead of us and there are actually biological brains inside those clever UAVs and Packbots...

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