Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Hoist by your own robot

The history of warfare is full of stories of people turning their enemies' weapons against them with disastrous results.Today's report from AFP that armed robots could be reprogrammed by terrorists to attack us should come as no surprise.

Prior to an address to the Royal United Services Institute, Sheffield University Professor Noel Sharkey is reported as saying " Military leaders are quite clear that they want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more cost effective and give a risk-free war......The use of such devices by terrorists should be a serious concern."

It seems stating the obvious that if the robots can be turned against you then you do not have risk-free war.

"Terminator" style machines will eventually be developed. Will they make better , more precise decisions than troops on the ground who get confused, angry and scared? Probably. Will we feel safer, more secure, more willing to find a peaceful solution? Probably not.

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