In 2014, U.S. Army General Robert Cone said that by the middle of this century, soldiers will be fighting alongside robots. With the increasing use of drone strikes by the Obama administration, that prediction may already be coming to fruition.
But scientists are trying to stop it. The Open Roboethics Initiative conducted a poll recently that found the majority of people oppose the use of automated weapons like drones or robots. The Future of Life Institute also posted a letter calling for a ban on autonomous weapons and military robots. Signatures on that letter came from several notable people, including physicist Stephen Hawking, Tesla founder Elon Musk, cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett, and Apple founder Steve Wozniak, according to Futurism.
Here is an excerpt from the letter:
"Many arguments have been made for and against autonomous weapons, for example that replacing human soldiers by machines is good by reducing casualties for the owner but bad by thereby lowering the threshold for going to battle. The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.
A study out of British Columbia also demonstrated that regular people are worried about robotic arms, too. In a survey of over 1,000 people in 14 different languages from 54 different countries, 71 percent of the respondents surveyed said they would not support a robotic soldier that made decisions without human input.
Others have argued that instituting robotic solders would keep more people from losing their lives in battle and make armies more cost effective, since the price of training, feeding, housing and supporting a retired soldier is expensive.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.