Tech companies can doom an idea, but they can’t stop it
For years, this seemed like science fiction. But now it’s much closer to reality.
No, we’re not talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator” franchise or even a metal man from outer space. A robot can be any device capable of operating by human remote control or autonomously through computer programming.
Right now, robots are working in hospitals, factories and warehouses. Police and firefighters use them.
The army too.
They can detect traps and bombs, for example. And, in the case of drones, can deliver lethal firepower.
This has some people fearing that advanced robotic technology will one day be weaponized.
This week, six companies at the forefront of robotics technology are pledging not to arm their robots and to do their best so that their customers don’t take that step either.
“We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously controlled, widely accessible to the public, and able to navigate to previously inaccessible places where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues,” the companies wrote in a press release.
These lofty ideals are fine. But the reality is something else.
Countries with oppressive regimes will use all available technology to maintain control and advance their goals. The same will be true for terrorist groups. This means that powers like the United States and its allies must be prepared to counter such threats.
Like it or not, armed robots are already in the mix and such technology will continue to develop, by both the good guys and the bad guys.
Robot makers can take a strong stand against militarization. But they can’t stop it. This genie is already out of the bottle.
Print Title: EDITORIAL/Killer Robots: Tech Companies Can Doom an Idea, But They Can’t Stop It