Monday, 17 June 2013

Removing the Human(ity) element from warfare.


It is a pity that a call by the MP for Llanelli for  the UK government to support a moratorium on the use and development of so-called "killer robots". could well be treated as a joke but it is far from it.
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said the "frightening technology" of Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LARs) had to be stopped.
She said: "That is one step further than a drone which at least has some kind of human control over it."
Ms Griffith is raising her concerns about the weapons in a House of Commons debate on Monday.
The robots are machines programmed in advance to take out people or targets, which - unlike drones - operate autonomously on the battlefield.
They are being developed in the US, UK and Israel but as far as we know have not yet been used.
Ms Griffith, who is vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on weapons and the protection of civilians, said they raise serious moral questions about how we wage war.
She told the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme she was disappointed that the UK government had not signed up to a recent UN report calling for a moratorium on the use and development of LARs.
She said: 
"This is extremely frightening technology and we know how quickly this type of technology is being developed."There's a lot of secrecy about it and we need an international agreement about it."For example, blinding-lasers were banned before they came into use and that is the type of ban we need to be looking at."The US has already introduced a moratorium and quite clearly you have to work at an international level on this and the UK has to work with other countries to get a ban worldwide."
Supporters say the "lethal autonomous robots" could save soldiers' lives.

But the real reason may be that research has found that soldiers on the ground , are often reluctant to shoot and kill the enemy.

That is one of the reasons why the use of drones has increased .

Reducing lethal force to the level of a video game makes it easier to remove any reluctance under combatants to kill another human being .

Controlling a drone in Afghanistan from  Philadelphia say,  makes it easier for the operator to avoid any empathy  with those who are killed or injured and which could make them hesitate next time.

Bur how much better to remove the Human element altogether.

But it could also end up increasing terrorism.

One of the reasons for terrorism is the realisation by one side that they cannot match the resources,firepower and  combatants as their perceived enemy.

Ending up in them producing their  own version of lethal robots in suicide bombers.

People who through indoctrination have their humanity and empathy removed and who are like drones controlled by someone sitting in safety elsewhere.

Mich of the media will probably treat today's debate as an eccentric fantasy giving us images of  "Terminator"  type robots  and the impression that this will not happen.

But the increasing use of drones show us that it will soon be possible to programme them by a computer, to the extent that human operatives will  feel less and less that they are involved in the taking another life.

Nia Griffith, should be congratulated on raising this but I suspect even if the Commons listens , Those developing these lethal  products  will be not.




1 comment:

  1. I was waiting to see if you would write anything about Ieuan Wyn Jones. This looks like a likely seat for Labour, as Ieuan Wyn slips away. It will certainly be an interesting by-election.

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