October 15, 2012

Rise of the robots

Increasing use of unmanned weaponry raises legal and ethical questions.

Should humans brace themselves for a coming ‘robotics revolution’? As rules of engagement continue to change, militaries are adapting their tactics to include the increasing use of unmanned weaponry. However, behind the hot button issue of drones lies a military robotics industry that is developing machinery which is not only finding its way onto the battlefield, but into civilian life, as well. Robots today have the capability to drive automobiles, perform surgeries, and do household chores, among other tasks. As integration escalates, what legal and ethical issues arise?

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Sharon Weinberger @weinbergersa
National Security Writer, The Wilson Center

Noel Sharkey
Professor of AI and Robotics, University of Sheffield

Wolfram Burgard
Professor, University of Freiburg

What do you think? As unmanned machinery becomes more autonomous, what are the legal and ethical implications?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below or record a 30-second video comment.