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Author Topic: Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?  (Read 3654 times)

Offline CliffordK

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As we all know, the US Government is now using unmanned drones to kill people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Is it a slippery slope to design drones to kill people?

I believe they are currently remote controlled, but the next logical step would be to design autonomous drones (we are already using semi-autonomous rovers for planetary exploration).

Is TERMINATOR Next?

I suppose part of the question is related to another question whether silicone based life was possible.  I have no doubt that by the end of this century Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have progressed to the point where it will meet many of the characteristics of life itself.  At which point it might be a very bad idea to teach machines and computers how to kill people, and perhaps making judgement calls on the termination of human life.




 

Offline Geezer

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #1 on: 26/05/2011 08:12:35 »
I think we started down the slippery slope as soon as somebody figured out they could not only use the spear they had manufactured to hunt game, but they could also use it to take out the competition. By that criterion, we've been on the slippery slope for quite a long time.

 

Offline CliffordK

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #2 on: 26/05/2011 11:30:40 »
But...
Isn't it at least cheating a bit when the person actually flying the plane is sitting in a concrete bunker in a completely inaccessible location. 
We can strike at them.
But they can't strike back at us.

Of course the risk is that if the terrorists ever get a hold of our most powerful weapons, then we are in big trouble.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #3 on: 26/05/2011 11:55:07 »
Having spoken to my father's friends and my uncles who all saw active service in the WWII and lost various bits - this is the sort of cheating that any sensible person would grasp with both hands.

The use of autonomous drones would be another step ...  But all in all slippery slope / floodgates arguments are logically flawed.
 

Offline peppercorn

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #4 on: 26/05/2011 17:03:38 »
War has always been a technology race.

I see no difference in this against say F-16s against homemade-RPGs. For all intents and purposes, the guy in the F-16 is at practically no greater risk (from the enemy, not malfunction) than the guy in the bunker.

Shouldn't the question be "Who's policing the use of weapons?" Especially in the cases of one side having far more cash (and therefore tech.) to throw at a conflict or civil war - I'm thinking Israel/Palestine as a prime example.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #5 on: 26/05/2011 19:20:31 »
Just a thought, what happens when both sides have these sort of weapons?
Will the "soldiers" be the only ones who are not at risk of being killed?
I might have to join the army.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #6 on: 26/05/2011 20:51:43 »
Just a thought, what happens when both sides have these sort of weapons?
Will the "soldiers" be the only ones who are not at risk of being killed?
I might have to join the army.

I was thinking that if one could make an autonomous drone with the technology to create or steal its own supplies....  it would be a wicked terrorist weapon.  But, that has been the plot of many sci-fi movies. Autonomous drone released & hunts and kills forever.

We are very close to that technology today, although most of the terrorist organizations don't currently have the resources to pull it off.

I suppose ICBMs are old technology, and would be just as lethal in the hands of a terrorist organization, but still out of their reach.
 

Offline peppercorn

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #7 on: 26/05/2011 22:21:30 »
I'm thinking 2nd-hand ICBMs are still relatively expensive ;D  At least they were last time I checked! ;)
Also there's a fair bit of infrastructure-cost for an ICBM I believe.

BTW if the army have 'drones' (as BC implies), does that leave the Air-Force out of a job in the long-run?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #8 on: 27/05/2011 00:02:38 »
BTW if the army have 'drones' (as BC implies), does that leave the Air-Force out of a job in the long-run?

Army was probably intended as "Armed Forces".

Obviously both the Air Force and the Navy both have planes of various types.  I assume the army and marines maintain troop transports, but I don't know what the actual division of forces is.

As far as infrastructure for ICBMs.  There are obviously truck and rail mounted missiles, as well as underground silos. They are often sub mounted, but could easily be mounted in a ship too.  The infrastructure would be in the development, production, and testing of the missiles which would likely require government support.  However, there would be extensive overlap between military ICBMs and civilian rocketry and satellites which would also mean that a lot of information is available.
« Last Edit: 27/05/2011 00:10:54 by CliffordK »
 

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Is it a "slippery slope" to design drones to kill people?
« Reply #8 on: 27/05/2011 00:02:38 »

 

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