Quote of the Day

This is not just because of the obvious charge of hypocrisy, although that is there too. Many of those who shout the most about casualties from U.S. drone strikes rarely condemn so loudly the many more deaths of civilians as a result of Pakistan army operations in FATA or Taliban violence. Nor are they particularly ...

Quoted in Time

I’m quoted in Time about two new reports out by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch about the U.S. drone program. While the reports provide devastating details and draw attention to the debate, stories of innocent people hurt in drone strikes “don’t add substantively to knowledge of the drone program nor do they alter the ...

Could Drones be Good for Peace?

Over at Medium, I wonder if drones, when used outside of targeted killing programs, might actually be good for peace. The example I chose is the showdown between Japan and China in the Senkaku Islands. Though relatively expensive to develop and operate, drones allow for a much longer flight time over sensitive areas, and the ...

Quote of the Day

77. If used in strict compliance with the principles of international humanitarian law, remotely piloted aircraft are capable of reducing the risk of civilian casualties in armed conflict by significantly improving the situational awareness of military commanders. – From the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben ...

An Expansion of the Science Fictions of Dronephobia

Over at Beacon, I discussed why so many opponents to drones segue into science fiction to make their case — a habit that is actually poisonous to reasoned debate about kinetic policies and how they can be reformed to better safeguard civilian lives. When they were first invented war planes were terrifying, not just in the sense ...

The Coming Lethal Autonomous Future

Though I’ve spoken of their potential upsides, there are still a lot of challenges to overcome before any lethal autonomous robot is ever deployed. For Defense One, I explore some of them: Drones have been hackable for years. In 2009, defense officials told reporters that Iranian-backed militias used $26 of off-the-shelf software to intercept the ...

Robo-Ethics: Do Autonomous Weapons Pose Greater Ethical Dangers or Rewards? (Video)

Robo-Ethics: Do Autonomous Weapons Pose Greater Ethical Dangers or Rewards? (Video)
I had the tremendous pleasure this week of visiting the Naval Postgraduate School, where I participated in a discussion with Dr. Heather Roff and Dr. Bradley Strawser about the ethics, morality, legality, and practical implications of allowing weapons to autonomously make lethal decisions. The full session is below:   [LINK IS HERE]   I’ll be writing ...

Talking Autonomy and Drones All Up in the BBC

Talking Autonomy and Drones All Up in the BBC
Yesterday, I was on the BBC several times talking about drones and autonomy. First was this segment from World Have Your Say, where we discussed the UN Human Rights Council deliberations on Special Rapporteur Christof Heynes’ call for a preemptive ban. WHYS_drones I was also 32 minute into this Radio 4 The World Tonight segment ...

Technology Bans Don’t Work

Technology Bans Don't Work
  Yesterday the UN Human Rights Council debated whether to preemptively ban the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems — that is, platforms like drones that can decide on their own whether to use force or not. 26 states, including the special rapporteur, all said this sort of technology is so morally abhorrent, even its development ...

Human Agency and the Moral Imperative of Robot Warfare

Human Agency and the Moral Imperative of Robot Warfare
There have been a number of responses to my FP article on robot autonomy and warfare — some serious, some laughably unserious. Among the more serious and considered is Jay Adler. Writing for The Algemeiner, he brings up the biggest and, I think, most serious objection to increasing automation in warfare: human agency. He also, perhaps ...