Professor Chris Jenks
, from the Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, will speak on "Crossing the Rubicon: the path to offensive autonomous weapons
" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 5:30pm 1 June 2015.
"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."
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