Most people want fully autonomous weapons banned

Most people want fully autonomous weapons banned
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Public opinion is against the use of autonomous weapons capable of identifying and destroying targets without human input, according to a new survey by researchers at the University of British Columbia.

More than eight out of every 10 individuals surveyed said such robots should not be used for aggression, and 67 per cent said they should be banned across the planet.

More than a thousand people from 54 countries, including the United States, Canada, South Korea, Mexico and the U.K. answered the survey. It was conducted by the Open Roboethics initiative (ORi), a UBC-based group that studies issues concerning robotics and artificial intelligence.

"It has been said that future wars will be fought with completely automated systems," said AJung Moon, ORi spokesperson and a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at UBC. "The survey results clearly show that more public discussion is necessary so that we can make intelligent decisions about robotic weapon technologies."

If pressed to make a choice, most people (71 per cent) said they would prefer that their country use remotely operated weapons—such as the military drones already being used by a few armies—instead of fully . Many (56 per cent) would prefer that autonomous weapons never be developed or used at all.

The survey, one of the largest on the subject, will be presented at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of States Parties slated for Nov. 12-13. The CCW bans or restricts the use of specific types of weapons that could cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or affect civilians indiscriminately.

"Robotic weapon technology is constantly marching forward, so it's crucial that we have an understanding of public perception and opinion on the matter. This survey certainly contributes to the growing body of information," said Machiel Van der Loos, associate director of UBC's human-robot interaction research group, the Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CARIS) Laboratory.

The survey, The Ethics and Governance of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Visit http://www.openroboethics.org/laws_survey to download copies of the report or to participate in the , which will continue to collect data on an ongoing basis.


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Citation: Most people want fully autonomous weapons banned (2015, November 10) retrieved 23 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-people-fully-autonomous-weapons.html
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Nov 10, 2015
Unfortunately we've had fully autonomous weapon systems in operations for more than 700 years (mines). So I don't expect a drive for a ban on autonomous robotic systems to get many takers from the powers-that-be (regardless of what the people think).

Autonomous weapon systems have one advantage: No soldier in a tin box (or captured ones) is paraded on TV and could affect the stance of a people regarding the wars that their 'betters' have hyped upon them.

It's win-win for the powerful (and doubly so for their backers in the military-industrial complexes around the world)

Nov 10, 2015
Perhaps it is time we organized and made personal targets of scorn of those who build and operate these senseless killers. They are the Tools of Cowards.

Nov 10, 2015
Perhaps it is time we organized and made personal targets of scorn of those who build and operate these senseless killers. They are the Tools of Cowards.
Well youre a tool and a coward so why dont you volunteer?

Nov 10, 2015
Perhaps it is time we organized and made personal targets of scorn of those who build and operate these senseless killers. They are the Tools of Cowards.


Agreed. I know if I was on the receiving end of a drone attack where family or friends were killed or injured, I would choose to fight against what I perceived to be the evil country that sent them. We aren't doing any long-term good with these machines.

Nov 15, 2015
People don't want autonomous weapons.... But of course they love howitzers, crew-served machine guns, and ballistic missile submarines. When did we start using popularity contests to decide national military strategy? Maybe we should put the policies of the Department of Health and Human Services up to a popular vote, or better yet, make it subject to surveys by people on internet blogs. I bet Fox News could write that up pretty effectively. "Should food stamp recipients be subject to random drug screening? We report, you decide."

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