Why We Really Should Ban Autonomous Weapons: A Response
This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.
We welcome Evan Ackerman’s contribution to the discussion on a proposed ban on offensive autonomous weapons. This is a complex issue and there are interesting arguments on both sides that need to be weighed up carefully. This process is well under way, and several hundred position papers have been written in the last few years by think tanks, arms control experts, and nation states. His article, written as a response to an open letter signed by over 2500 AI and robotics researchers, makes four main points:
(1) Banning a weapons system is unlikely to succeed, so let’s not try.
(2) Banning the technology is not going to solve the problem if the problem is the willingness of humans to use technology for evil.
(3) The real question that we should be asking is this: Could autonomous armed robots perform more ethically than armed humans in combat?
(4) What we really need, then, is a way of making autonomous armed robots ethical.