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Will Lethal Autonomous weapons will be beneficial for society?
in Technology

I tired of talking about religion related stuff, lets talk about robots. and war.

Please read for background, we are not talking about terminators here

The steady march of technological development has made the possibility of unmanned weapon systems capable of making kill decisions with little or no human supervision a very real near future possibility, in years rather than decades.

LAWs ( Lethal Autonomous Weapons) refers to a specific type of weapon that can independently search for targets and make kill decisions without a direct human operator. This does not apply to guided missiles or bombs that find targets prior to launch, however "smart bombs" that identify targets post deployment do.

Almost every part of the modern smart phone was developed for military use. The camera was made for spy satellites, the microprocessor was for guided missiles, and the internet for secure communications, Lithium ion battery for portable electronics, and GPS was by the Navy. If we extrapolate these trends, then development of such systems for military use will have eventual civilian benefits.

Governments and private industries around the world are currently working on development of these systems for military use, but many have raise concerns about the ethical use of such weapons. Some are even calling for the complete banning of these systems and a global halt in their research and development.

Regardless of how likely it is that governments succeed or their opponents successfully stop them, I would argue that the technological advancements from such systems can only be a long term positive for humanity.
Plaffelvohfen
At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
All of that so we can argue about nothing.



Debra AI Prediction

For
Predicted To Win
56%
Likely
44%
Unlikely

Details +


For:

0% (0 Points)


Against:

0% (0 Points)



Votes: 0


Voting Format: Moderate Voting

Rounds: 3

Time Per Round: 1 Hour Per Round


Voting Period: 48 Hours


Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Voting


Arguments



  • Round 1 | Position: For
    Throughout human history, warfare has breed technological development. Much of this technology has eventual civilian uses. The same technology that would be used to develop LAWs could be immediately purposed as search and rescue equipment, firefighting, and as a police aid for high-danger situation.

    LAWs have many military benefits that are not possible with human soldiers. LAWs can be custom built for specific tasks. This grants them superhuman abilities that humans can only have if they also use advanced equipment, such as increased speed and endurance.

    They could be much more effective in combat due to their inability to get PTSD. They will not desert or disobey orders. In the heat of combat, many people become conscientious objectors who refuse to fight, potentially costing their own lives and those of their comrades. There is a moral benefit here, because instead of sacrificing human lives you would be spending the lives of non-living robots. They would be programmed to strictly follow the laws of war, and preform in a strictly professional manner, that is they would not cause unnecessary damage or torture civilians intentionally.

    The military is extremely expensive, and most of that cost is spent on personnel. Because LAWs do not need benefits such as a college degree, burial, or medical benefits, and do not  spend hours on training and exercises, the overall cost of the military could be greatly reduced. This money saved could lower taxes, or be spent on social programs that would benefit everyone.
    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • Round 2 | Position: For
    No takers on the first round, so I will make up against claims to rebut.

    Almost every piece of technology in the modern smart phone was developed for military use, not by corporations as some will lead you to believe. The internet was developed from the ARPANET a military communication system, the Microchip was developed to guide missiles, and the camera was developed for spy satellites.

    One argument against LAWs is that they would be dangerous in the wrong hands. My rebuttal to this is that modern existing weapons already are, so it is of little consequence if these weapons were used. Existing governments that could build them would be able to create defenses that the opposition could not likely overcome.

    Some may point out the difficulty in determining who would be responsible for the war crimes committed by LAWs. Should it be the manufacturer, the programmer, the general, or the bot itself?

    The short answer is that all LAWs should be developed to be "human in the loop" systems. This means that a human will ultimately be in charge of the robots, directing and to an extent controlling them, effectively making each LAW an arm of the commander.

    If human lives are not at risk, the decision to go to war may be easier. This is a valid concern, however because no human lives would be in danger the conflict would be impersonal and not carry many of the long term psychological effects that wars induce. Thus the wars ought to be shorter and ultimately more civilized.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • Round 1 | Position: Against
    Although the development of LAWs is beneficial to society, in the technological advancement and civil benefits sense,  I'll contend that its use for warfare is not beneficial and doesn't solve moral issues... 

    Use of LAWs in warfare scenarios may seem a good idea at first, but it misses or discards the fundamental nature of War, which is that War is a human endeavor... War should be costly (in $ and lives) to humans, to deter them from pursuing it. 

    When you say : "There is a moral benefit here, because instead of sacrificing human lives you would be spending the lives of non-living robots.", you completely avoid the morality of killing the "opponent", which are human lives too... 

    I'm all for autonomous robots and AIs, in search and rescue operations, with firefighting strategies and such (far from sold for police use though...), but the "lethal weaponization" option is a bad idea to sell... Any system can be hacked with enough resources, just the possibility of losing control of such LAW is cause for concern... 

    On paper, it's great no denying that but that's where it should stay. Not that it will though, someone, somewhere will develop it, it's unavoidable I think, and we must prepare for it whether we like it or not...
    Happy_Killbot
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • Round 3 | Position: For
    The moral aspect of LAWs is that fewer human lives would be at risk when compared to human vs human conflict if LAWs were involved, not to solve or eliminate the moral dilemma of conflict. Fewer soldiers will come back from combat with PTSD and decide to become fanatic Christians.

    The loss of lives and the high resource costs are still deterrents for war even in the case of having a much cheaper autonomous army. The difference is that a larger, better equipped force could be made for the same price or a force of equal size for a lower price. Either way, this counter intuitively makes war a less viable solution because the potential for collateral damage is higher, resulting in increased tendency for diplomatic solutions.

    The technology needed to make a search and rescue robot and build LAWs is one and the same, that is to say if you have the technology to do one you are really only a few modifications away from creating the other.

    LAWs are much harder to hack than our current equipment. This is because of the autonomous aspects of these systems. They by definition make decisions on their own, so these basic instructions would have to be pre-loaded onto the hardware. They will only receive basic orders to decide what to do, but they would be hard coded not to violate certain principals such as humanitarian law. Modern encryption is already so difficult to break that it would be all but impossible to do so in a combat situation, making it unlikely that an enemy could take control of the systems.

    LAWs are already being developed in China, Russia, South Korea and the US.

    South Korea is already fielding the SGR-A1, an automatic defense turret, on the demilitarized zone.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SGR-A1
    the US is soon to field the Sea hunter, an unmanned submarine hunter, which will eventually be equipped with depth charges.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Hunter 
    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
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