I always believed the word ROBOT was an abbreviation of some kind. Apparently not! The word robot comes from the word robota, meaning literally ‘serf labour’, and first appeared in Czech writer Karel Čapek’s 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), unlike the word TARDIS that stands for ‘Time and Relative Dimension in Space’. Anyway, back to Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LARs), or self-autonomous drones that some countries are hell bend on developing and deploying…US, UK and Israel. These machines are programmed to seek out and destroy high-value targets of their own choice, and are not operated from the ground like so many of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones we hear about. Quite understandably some people are not happy with the deployment of machines capable of making decisions to use lethal force without human intervention. Some people (not military contractors) are calling for a moratorium on their development! Without DATA’s ethics programme imbedded deep in their circuitry who know who these killer robots may turn on? Supposedly, at the present time in our human development, politicians who have never shed blood for their countries sleep better when knowing there is a finger on a trigger, even if it is 5000 miles away from the smashing action! Supporters of LARs claim they could save soldiers’ lives. I don’t really think that argument holds water, do you? Really, do you want Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator turning up at your door to deliver milk, or the flying kind to check out the condition of your roof tiles?
At the minute the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) is casting an international spotlight on the issue. This may lead to a new protocol banning autonomous weapons to add to existing CCW bans on armaments such as lasers and cluster bombs. Llanelli MP Nia Griffith, who is vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on weapons and the protection of civilians, said LARs raise serious moral questions about how we wage war. No doubt she, along with most British MPs would much rather just tax us all to death, but this is just a personal opinion and I wouldn’t want it to influence your thinking. Apparently the US has already introduced a moratorium on self-autonomous killing machines. In other words they’re developing them in secret. Hail the CIA!
Why only the other day I read an unconfirmed report that an unnamed British parliamentarian of some stature, who suggested we deploy peace throughout the world, was stoned to death in the confines of the Palace of Westminster. Opened up with a fruit knife…or it could have been an oyster shucking knife…by fellow MPs high on coke, smack, LSD, crystal meth and oregano, the gentleman’s entrails were removed and burnt. Agents working for the Secret Intelligent Service were immediately dispatched with orders to slaughter the MP’s entire family. Democracy works!