Robots in the battlefield : armed autonomous systems and ethical behaviour
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Collegium, No. 41, Automne 2011, p. 62-70
The contributor reports on the result of a three year program granted by the Departement of Defence to study the application of ethics in these autonomous systems. The premise of the research was to explore whether robots could outperform soldiers with respect to collateral damage. Could they be ultimately more human than humans? Robots are already stronger, faster and smarter than us in many cases. Therefore, it is a relatively low bar to create autonomous systems that can perform more ethically in the battlefield. Part of this research program was to program a robot for the right of refusal of an order. It can also provide on-the-ground reporting on the ethical behaviour of soldiers which may have the ability to cause human soldiers to behave better. What was tried in the prototype software was to incorporate international humanitarian law and rules of engagement which are required to be consistent with that.