Feature

Here come the killer robots

If you think drone warfare has created some tricky moral dilemmas, just wait until we start sending robotic soldiers into battle.

Robert H. Latiff and Patrick J. McCloskeyThe Wall Street Journal

If you think drone warfare has created some tricky moral dilemmas, said Robert H. Latiff and Patrick J. McCloskey, just wait until we start sending robotic soldiers into battle. Early prototypes of robots that can hunt down and destroy enemies with ferocious firepower are in development, and “what now seems like the stuff of Hollywood fantasy is moving toward realization.” Soon, these lethal Terminators will be deployed in wars. Why? For the same reason generals and politicians have grown so fond of unmanned aerial drones: They provide extended “battle reach” without putting our own soldiers at risk. Robot soldiers also cost a tenth of what humans do, and never get PTSD or require medical care. That will make them even more attractive as the Pentagon faces tighter budgets. A “moral Rubicon” lies ahead. Will killer robots on patrol in some foreign city’s streets be able to distinguish between large children and small adults? Or between civilians and combatants? If we don’t establish moral and legal rules soon, war will evolve into “death by algorithm.”

Recommended

Biden at his best and worst
President Biden.
Picture of Damon LinkerDamon Linker

Biden at his best and worst

Putin reveals the Kremlin is awash in COVID-19 cases
Vladimir Putin
'not one or two'

Putin reveals the Kremlin is awash in COVID-19 cases

France says it killed ISIS Africa leader in 'decisive blow against this terrorist group'
France announces ISIS death
ISIS

France says it killed ISIS Africa leader in 'decisive blow against this terrorist group'

Australians think Biden forgot their prime minister's name at nuclear-sub event
Scott Morrison and Joe Biden
'that fellow Down Under'

Australians think Biden forgot their prime minister's name at nuclear-sub event

Most Popular

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?
Elizabeth Holmes and James Mattis.
Samuel Goldman

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?

How Newsom ran away with the recall
Gavin Newsom.
Picture of David FarisDavid Faris

How Newsom ran away with the recall

Why Laurence Fishburne isn't in the Matrix trailer
The Matrix Resurrections
rabbit hole

Why Laurence Fishburne isn't in the Matrix trailer