Ethical guidelines on war robots

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war robots

Robots can be used for 2 purposes, for good purposes or bad purposes. With the ethics of robotics, robots can be expected to be used for good purposes only. Here the article about ethical guidelines on war robots.

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International guidelines are needed for the ethical and safe use of robots “for care and for war”, according to a leading British scientist.

Professor Noel Sharkey, a robotics expert from the University of Sheffield, warned of the potential dangers posed by new generations of civilian and military robots.

He drew attention to developments which could see battalions of armed and semi-autonomous robots being deployed in battle, both on the ground and in the air.

The US Future Combat Systems project aimed to use robots as force multipliers, with a single soldier initiating large scale ground and aerial robot attacks.

“The ethical problems arise because no computational system can discriminate between combatants and innocents in a close contact encounter,” Prof Sharkey wrote in the journal Science.

In the civilian area the hazards were more subtle but nonetheless real, he pointed out. Large numbers of “personal care” robots had already been developed for child-minding and care of the elderly.

Research had shown that children could become closely attached to robots, often preferring a robot to a teddy bear. But robots were unable to provide the care and attention offered by humans, which could have unpredictable psychological consequences, said Prof Sharkey.

“Because of the physical safety that robot minders provide, children could be left without human contact for many hours a day or perhaps for several days, and the possible psychological impact of the varying degrees of social isolation on development is unknown,” he wrote. “What would happen if a parent were to leave a child in the safe hands of a future robot caregiver almost exclusively?”

Studies had shown that in monkeys, severe social dysfunction occurs if infant animals only develop attachments to inanimate objects.

Care of the elderly was another area where robots were making a big impact, said Prof Sharkey. Examples of such devices already in use included the “My Spoon” automatic feeding robot, the Sanyo electric bathtub robot that washes and rinses, and the Mitsubishi Wakamura robot for monitoring, delivering messages and issuing reminders about medicine.

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