back to article UN to debate killer drone ethics

In an effort to stop killer drones before they start, humanity is about to unleash its most fearsome weapons: a long, drawn out bureaucratic process and a committee. Both weapons will be brought to bear by the United Nations' which will next week stage an “informal Meeting of Experts” to “discuss the questions related to …


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  1. Thorne

    Yes we can

    We will just go back in time and kill the mothers of the committee members along with Sarah Connor......

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Military contracts are at risk!

    Quick! Round up the people who are shouting the loudest and give them tax payers' money to argue with each other.

  3. P. Lee


    What could possibly go wrong?

    Probably less than the US' record of attacking allies by mistake...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Autonomous?

      No chance, it will just designate allies as expendables....

      I do NOT like the idea of any autonomous drones choosing to kill, I like the idea that a person has to make the decision to kill, not that with the USA that there is any risk of morals being involved here....

      If I saw armed robotic police on my streets, my first thoughts would be of how to destroy them, my second would be how to hack them and repurpose them to obey me...

  4. Old Man - Grey Fleece

    Remote warfare - who loses

    With LAWS and drones we are heading for a conflict where the only casualties are the civilians who can't get out of the area.

  5. TopOnePercent

    It might be safer...

    Given the propensity of some nations to inflict high numbers of friendly fire incidents on their military partners, it may be safer for everyone if LAWS are deployed.

    I'd not want to live near the first few deployments while the bugs are ironed out (You have 10 seconds to comply), but once the systems mature, it could significantly reduce civilian casualties.

  6. ukgnome

    When the chips are down

    You have about 30 seconds to get out of the area whilst the droid reboots.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

    Car bombs?

  8. Dimitri

    "Could robotics be used in conflicts? If so, what ethical questions does this raise?"

    Hey, as long as it's robots on boths sides, with no civilians caught in the middle, it's fine with me.

    1. Martin Gregorie

      Take your head out of the sand and read Philip K Dick's "Autofac" - its the first story in his "Minority Report" collection and explains what can possibly go wrong far better than I can.

  9. breakfast Silver badge

    Solved with downcase?

    So LAWS are the problem and laws are the solution?

  10. Euripides Pants

    How the development of LAWS could impact on humans?

    If the U.N. "experts" haven't realized that laws were developed thousands of years ago and cannot comprehend the impact they've had on the human race over the millenia, well, this is another waste of time, effort and protoplasm...

  11. Morrie Wyatt

    Survive bureaucracy and a committee? Maybe.

    If you could get the entire commitee gathered together in one place, a LAWS drone could do the job just fine.

    The icon should be self explanatory, though the black helicopter should precede it of course.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Committee is Nice...

    ...but we will build these things anyway. There will be a thousand arguments in favor of them. The scariest ones will be the bipedal humanoid ones.

    Even more arguments will allow them to become policemen. When that happens, our worst science fiction nightmares will come true. If you are old, like me, you will miss this. If you have young children, they will see this happen.

    We will start a fire we can't put out, despite ample warnings and alternatives. Sometimes, it's good to be old.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Defining the word "committee."

    It is the only life form with a hundred or more stomachs and no brains. "Skynet" will simply kill it, or use it as cover as it keeps right on trucking. When was the last time you ever heard of anything useful coming from the United Nations? It's been a long time, hasn't it?

  14. M7S

    If they might be considered capable of making decisions, what about self defence?

    As if so, situations like this could prove unfortunate, to say the least.

    Its unclear where the error lies (apart from probably not with the civilian aircraft), whether it's stupidity or faulty system programming but like a motorcyclist in a road collision, regardless of who's fault it is, the unarmed vehicle is likely to come off worse.

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