kill -9 1
The United Nations will next week consider just what kind of autonomous weapons should be banned. The UN group that will consider the issues is called the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, convened by the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons*. The Convention’s been going since 1979 and …
"forbidding the use of blinding lasers, landmines, booby traps and incendiary weapons."
That's forbidding in a "not really forbidding at all" sense:
Some commentards are understandably a bit cynical about this. But we shouldn't be. Yes, we can't just ban war and violence overnight, but every step towards reducing and ending it should be welcomed. With laws in place there is the potential for perpetrators to face justice for their crimes. It's distressingly slow, and many people literally get away with murder - but some don't. And if we can make war, and those who assist by making and selling weapons, unacceptable then we will be going in the right direction. Let's start by ostracising arms manufacturers and sellers. Let's hear more voices raised against May and the Tories helping to kill children in the Yemen.
Yes, I'm an idealist, even if I'm also a bit cynical. Remember the wise words of E F Schumacher
"We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful. Because if we don't do the right thing, we'll be doing the wrong thing, and we will just be part of the disease, and not a part of the cure."
Doesn't sound very wise to me. Wasting resource and effort to do the "right" thing in a futile gesture is not the "right" thing - merely wasting resources that could be put to better use elsewhere. There are plenty of injustices and needs that effort and resources could be used to make a real difference in this world - where doing the "right" thing will actually have the "right" outcome. Wisdom is knowing when to accept the things you cannot change.
Let's hear more voices raised against May and the Tories helping to kill children in the Yemen.
The UK, as the world's second-largest arms exporter (and with an economy proportionally *more* reliant on it that the US at #1) will be sure to veto anything that damages vital national (economic) interests. Governments of both colours have mongered war after war since the end of the Cold War threatened our vital industries, and with brexit we're looking to double down on it.
@Nick Kew - I think your statistics are a little out of date, the uk doesnt amke it into the top 5, as we dont have any decent manufacturers any more. All the ones we had have borged into BAe Systems, and they're only a float because of gov.uk contracts. the only report that ranks us behind only the US is written by the UK.gov and is definatley not credible. How many british made and still used weapons systems can you name compared to US or Russian? the biggest deal recently has been 48 typhoons to saudis, but the US has "sold" F35s right left and centre, even to us. Sukoi and MiG out sell BAe too, and the french have been selling rafaeles to world+dog.
According to international studies: between 2010-2015 (percentage of global arms sales)
We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful.
Sounds good in theory. And most of the time, it is. But...
Remember the days before seat belts? In a crash, people would be catapulted through windscreens. Some of them weren't killed. Passers-by would endeavour to make the victims comfortable. Often by removing a coat or jacket, rolling it up and putting it under the victim's head.
Problem is, that kind of accident can result in broken cervical vertebrae. Moving the victim's head to slip something underneath can make matters worse. The victim, who might otherwise have fully recovered in time (given correct medical treatment), becomes paraplegic, quadruplegic or dead.
Sometimes (not always) attempting to make things better ends up making them worse than if you'd done nothing.
I'll see your Schumacher and raise you "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
But my original point is more about the moral or ethical right thing, rather than practical physics, engineering or medicine. It's about behaviour.
I do not think one should isolate moral ideals from pragmatism. Doing the wrong thing because it makes you feel good (or for virtue signalling) is undesirable. Even if you thought, because of insufficient analysis, that what you were doing was a good thing.
Standing aside because you can't be arsed is undesirable. Standing aside because you've carefully examined all the options and concluded that standing aside is the best that can be done is a good thing.
In a perfect world where everyone followed the laws and rules and all countries were in the UN and embraced their policies.... It might just work. But in the real world where we have terrorist groups, random nut cases and countries that aren't part of the UN (or are but ignore it), we have an arms race with no holds barred.
Fun fact: the first treaty banning a specific weapons system banned crossbows. In April 1139.
Additional fun fact: the compelling argument for the ban was the 1%ers of the time realising that, in all their mounted, armoured glory, any lowly footsoldier with a bit of training (or luck) suddenly could kill them from a safe distance.
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