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Unmanned drone attacks and shape-shifting robots
Welcome to the battlefield of the future. Malleable robots. Insect-size air forces. Chemical tracers spritzed from the sky. It's the stuff of science fiction. . . . At the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ronald Arkin is researching a stunning premise: whether robots can be created that treat humans on the battlefield better than human soldiers treat each other. He has pored over the first study of US soldiers returning from the Iraq war, a 2006 US Surgeon General's report that asked troops to evaluate their own ethical behavior and that of their comrades. . . .
"Human beings have never been designed to operate under the combat conditions of today," he says. "There are many, many problems with the speed with which we are killing right now – and that exacerbates the potential for violation of laws of war." With Pentagon funding, Dr. Arkin is looking at whether it is possible to build robots that behave more ethically than humans – to not be tempted to shoot someone, for instance, out of fear or revenge. The key, he says, is that the robot should "first do no harm, rather than 'shoot first, ask questions later.' " . . . .The aim, says Arkin, is not to be perfect, "but if we can achieve this goal of outperforming humans, we have saved lives – and that is the ultimate benchmark of this work.". . . "There are many futures that can be created," says Georgia Tech roboticist Arkin. "Hopefully, we can create, I won't say a utopian, but at least not a dystopian one."
Article can be found at Christian Science Monitor