GLaDOS approves

GLaDOS approves

The U.S. Air Force is looking for a next-generation fighter jet to replace its current F-22 Raptor. In addition to (or in lieu of) conventional weapons, the Air Force is interested in non-kinetic (lasers, electromagnetic pulse generators) weapons and and remote functionality. Remote piloting removes the greatest limitation on current jets — the pilot’s inability to handle heavy, sustained gravitational forces, especially during 4-G negative dives against Russian MiGs. Remote control will allow greater maneuverability, giving our pilots superior dogfighting capabilities over their manned counterparts. This presolicitation follows the Air Force’s 2009 report outlining its goals for autonomous attack drones by year 2047.

There are obvious legal implications with autonomous robots designed to kill. Will they comply with the Geneva Conventions? If not quite perfect, can they be more ethical than human soldiers?

As robots become both increasingly autonomous and integrated into civilian life — from cleaning our floors to helping NASA explore space — new legal issues arise. Does the robot’s owner or programmer (or both) risk tort liability in case of robot attack? How should courts apply respondeat superior and strict products liability theory to such attacks?

Experts are divided on what will be society’s ultimate downfall: zombies, robots, or zombie robots. Can a market solution effectively mitigate the risk of robot attacks? Despite our attempts to stem the tide of inevitable robot domination, robots are here to stay; even the terrorists have them. Passing anti-robot laws would be futile – when robots are outlawed, only outlaws will have robots.

Andrew Ralls

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3 Responses to Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

  1. Zombie Robot says:

    John Connor doesn’t stand a chance!

  2. snarklenyc says:

    But if the outlaws don’t have robots, who will protect us from SkyNet?

  3. Chet Steadman says: