Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So you're saying I can't sue Skynet?

Right now, representatives from countries around the world are gathering in Geneva Switzerland (the home of two different apocalypses!) to discuss an international ban on LAWS, but before you strap on your Guy Fawkes masks and start occupying things, you should probably know that in this case we're talking about Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems and not like, the law.
"It's fine, we're also against those. We're against a lot of things."
-These guys
If we called them Kill-Bots,
would there even be a debate?
Essentially these systems are robots that can kill people. Yeah, killer robots. The UN is holding a meeting to weigh the pros and cons of killer robots, and this where I kind of lose what lingering shred of hope I had for the human race. Like, what's wrong with us as a species that we need an entire week long conference to decide if kill-bots should be a thing? Holy shit, right? Suddenly extinction at the hand of our metal superiors seems pretty well deserved...but I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let's clarify what they mean by autonomous weapons systems.

Death machines and New York Times
best sellers. It's a confusing time to be alive.
You're probably thinking, hey, aren't the skies are already filled with armed death-machines? And yes, you would be correct. Humans have been killing each other with remote-controlled planes and helicopters for years now. The distinction between that and a Lethal Autonomous whatever, is whether or not the decision to shoot is made by a person sitting at a console somewhere, thousands of miles away or by an artificial intelligence that can act independently of a human operator.

Except maybe stairs.
Since robots sophisticated enough to make those kinds of kill/do not kill decisions don't actually exist right now, the conference is sort of a pre-emptive measure. After all, these things are probably coming up soon and the law is eventually going to have to catch up with the technology. At the moment there's no legal accountability for robots or the governments and organizations who might use them. In a sense, there is nothing stopping a robot from killing you and everyone you know.

The UN conference's organizers are hoping to establish some sort of multilateral legal frame work regarding robots, but it promises to be an uphill battle as some governments including those of the US, Britain and France aren't onboard with the idea, which is bullshit, bollocks and merde in that order. I mean, what's their beef and/or boeuf?
"What can we say? We love kill-bots..."
-The Leaders of the Free World
"I don't know, maybe he could write
people's names on the wall in bullets?"
Scientists, Human Rights Watch, the Harvard School of Law and pretty much anyone not looking forward to being slaughtered in the inevitable robot uprising, all favor an outright ban. Officials from some nations however, say that they're reluctant to agree to such a ban since it would prohibit technology that hasn't been developed yet. But given that there's really isn't any conceivable peaceful application for robots with machine gun hands, I'm going to say it's because they don't want someone else to come up with it first.

You know, don't think it's robots we should be worried about, I think it's the people who want to use them to fight wars and since we can't ban war, we should at least do the next best thing. Actually, couldn't we just ban war? That would make a lot more sense. C'mon UN, this is literally the reason you exist. Get on that.
Hyper-alloy endoskeletons, plasma rifles and immunity
from prosecution. We don't stand a chance. 

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