The Secret Rise of the Autonomous Robot Military!

Here, the five most terrifying bits from the must-read article “The Terminator Scenario: Are We Giving Our Military Machines Too Much Power?”

• “If we make smart machines without equally smart control systems, we face a scenario in which some day, by way of a thousand well-intentioned decisions, each one seemingly sound, the machines do in fact take over all the “key functions” that once were our domain. Then ‘we blink’ and find that the world is one we no longer are able to comprehend or control.”

• “A soldier back from duty in 2006 told Singer that a ground robot he operated in Iraq would sometimes ‘drive off the road, come back at you, spin around, stuff like that.’ That same year, Singer says, a SWORDS inexplicably began whirling around during a demonstration for executives; a scene out of the movie Robocop was avoided because the robot’s machine gun wasn’t loaded.”

• “Air Force scientists say they can stay ahead of countries that cut corners simply by stepping up their own verification and validation efforts. But such efforts will do little to prevent the proliferation of unreliable robots elsewhere, and may simply inspire some countries, in their attempts to win the robot arms race, to cut even more corners.”

• “’What’s easy to do is create a dumb autonomous robot that kills everything,’ says Patrick Lin, the head of the Ethics and Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.”

• “The Air Force is also looking into how humans can become more machinelike, through the use of drugs and various devices, in order to more smoothly interact with machines. “