Home / AMERICAN NEWS / Why is the United Nations Talking About Killer Robots? – ‘The Why’

Why is the United Nations Talking About Killer Robots? – ‘The Why’

Welcome to the latest edition of The Why.

Everywhere you look the media is pushing you telling you who to follow, what to watch and when to watch it.   You’re even sometimes told how to do it all.  Truth is, here at American Live Wire we do a bit of that too.  The big difference is we also tell you why.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

“Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots?” you ask?

Good question. But first, for those not up on ‘current events” let’s review. According to ABC News, yesterday a group of leaders gathered in Geneva, Switzerland for a United Nations conference. The topic of discussion: “What future threat do killer robots could pose to the world?”

killer robots

Killer Robots? / Image: QinetiQ North America Inc

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? Even though the so-called killer robots, officially known as “lethal autonomous weapons systems” are not yet fully developed, they pose a very real potential problem. They are machines capable of choosing a target free of any human mediation. The potential threat was enough to give birth to the first meeting to discuss the issue.

In an official UN statement Michael Møller, acting director-general of the United Nations office in Geneva, spoke to the attendees saying: “I urge delegates to take bold action. All too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened. You have the opportunity to take pre-emptive action and ensure that the ultimate decision to end life remains firmly under human control.”

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? The conference attendees were concerned about the “levels of autonomy and predictability” that may exist in the killer robots. They also discussed “the next steps in robotic technology”.

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? A roboticist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ronald Arkin, had raised the issue prior to the conference and was in full support of “a moratorium” on the killer robots. He also told those in attendance that actually banning them “would be premature”.

As far back as 2007 he told the press: It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield. But I am convinced that they can perform more ethically than human soldiers.”

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? Back in 2010 officials in South Korea reported that they had already installed a number of “semi-autonomous robotic machine guns” along the border it shares with North Korea. (Let’s be blunt; some countries come off as just a bit too crazy to own wrist-rocket slingshots let alone full-blown killer robots, mmmkay?)

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? A Human Rights Watch report published earlier yesterday claimed that the killer robots or fully autonomous lethal weapons systems could “undermine human dignity.”

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Killer Robots?/ Image:InternationalPoliticalForum

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? They have heard from The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. This group declares itself “an international coalition of non-governmental organizations working to ban fully autonomous weapons”.

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? They are talking abbot killer robots because they have heard from numerous government officials who have real concerns about the issue. That’s why before year’s end the UN conference group will meet again to further discuss possible plans of action regarding the killer robots.

Why is the United Nations talking about killer robots? Now you know.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

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About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.