"The current fixation with the possibility of autonomous weapons attacking humans overlooks their current anti-material applications as well as usage domains with minimal chance of civilian casualties. Lethal autonomous weapons systems are not coming, they’re already here. Militaries have employed defensive autonomous weapon systems for decades, and are starting to utilize them in large numbers or swarms.
At the same time the international community has paused at a legal, ethical and moral precipice of utilizing offensive autonomous weapons systems, hyperbolically called ‘killer robots’. What may prove the catalyst in crossing this Rubicon is that the most effective way to attack a defence comprised of swarming autonomous defensive systems is with their offensive analog. And the advancements in defensive systems necessitating consideration of this decision will flow from the surge in commercial use of unmanned aerial systems beginning this year with the United States issuing regulations for their domestic use.
The employment of increasingly autonomous offensive systems will not be predicated on advancements in artificial intelligence but rather on a time honored principle of military technological advances – development of an effective measure inevitably leads to equally if not more effective counter measures."