Killer robots and human rights – it’s on!

Killer robots. Two words that you’d usually find in science fiction books and film manuscripts – or in heated discussions on sci-fi fan forums where Asimov’s three rules of robots are often invoked as the final gospel.

Whether or not Asimov was thrown on the table at the UN this week is hard to say, but the United Nations did find themselves discussing killer robots.

The central question raised was: Should robots be allowed to take a human life, without direct supervision or command?

The reason behind the question being raised is that several countries are developing robotic weapons that can automatically aim and fire weapons at objects they perceive as threats / legitimate targets.

The new ‘killer robots’ mean that fewer soldiers will be in harm’s way in a future war-zone, but it does raise issues about how trustworthy robots are on a battlefield.

I know it’s a bit old school, but in my book a good illustration of just how wrong war can go when robots run rampant is the movie WarGames. A computer starts out playing tic-tack-toe and within a week it’s on the cusp of starting a nuclear war…

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