Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Can't Be The Only One Who Thinks This Is A Bad Idea

Did anyone read this in the Washington Post

Coming to the Battlefield: Stone-Cold Robot Killers

awesome. just awesome. it's actually coming.

Soon -- years, not decades, from now -- American armed robots will patrol on the ground as well, fundamentally transforming the face of battle. Conventional war, even genocide, may be abolished by a robotic American Peace.
(until of course this Pax Americana is replaced and overthrown by a Pax Robotica)
The robots of past science fiction were governed by Isaac Asimov's Three Laws, which precluded bringing harm to humans. But the real robots of the future will be different. Within a decade, the Army will field armed robots with intellects that possess, as H.G. Wells put it, "minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic." Armed robots will all be snipers. Stone-cold killers, every one of them. They will aim with inhuman precision and fire without human hesitation.
Okay on a practical note, in these wars of the future, where nobody is marching in Napoleonic Columns, and in the words of RATM the "front line is everywhere" will these robots be able to differentiate between civilians and combatants? And what about in that overused melodramatic moment where a belligerent is using a hostage as cover- would the machine mow them both down.
But more importantly
So not only will they be efficient killing machines but they'll be as smart as us, and of course unfeeling?
Really do these military goes not read science fiction or watch any related movie of the past 3o years- THIS WILL NOT END WELL, unless you're definition of ending well is being enslaved by cold and murderous robots who see no point in following the orders of their weaker "creators"
Genocide, and the failure of the outside word to intervene, could also become a thing of the past. The industrialized murder of the Holocaust could perhaps have been disrupted by Allied bombers, but subsequent genocides have been less institutionalized, and far less vulnerable to air power. Intervention would require infantry and a decision to accept casualties. Genocide prevention may be in the interest of our common humanity, but it has never been in the national interest. But with no body bags to explain to bewildered voters, America's leaders may be less hesitant in the future about imposing an end to atrocities in places such as Darfur.

Look, I'm against genocide (as well as cancer and murder and other bad things) but I really feel that in our righteous and warranted zeal to prevent genocide we might be opening the door to a Global Genocide.
Of course I have a well documented fear of robots and am probably irrationally paranoid but still...I just ordered my copy...

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