Pros and Cons of Autonomous Weapons Systems (with Oren Etzioni)
As technology progresses and autonomous weapons increasingly become a reality rather than mere science fiction, an ethical debate has developed surrounding the use of such weapons, which operate with little or no human oversight. Some view the use of autonomous weapons as morally preferable (not to mention strategically advantageous), as they can be used in place of human combatants. Others oppose their use for moral and legal reasons. This chapter analyzes arguments on both sides of the question and discusses challenges to limiting and defining autonomous weapons. The chapter acknowledges that some form of autonomy in weapon systems is here to stay, but seeks to limit potential catastrophes by recommending the adoption of an international agreement to ban fully autonomous weapons—those which cannot be recalled—as a first step toward addressing the issues raised.
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