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and over the past decade of watchedamerican troops operate on the front lines of war in iraq and afghanistanboth of the us marine or later as a journalist during that time two things have struckme first american to develop the low tolerance for seeing their soldiersreturned home and coffins and second soldiers are surrounded by anoverwhelming amount of new technology it's now part of their everyday livesthese two trends are shifting the way the us fighting force the pentagon is currently building anarmy of what it calls unmanned systems

is sir fastest growing army developmentand there's momentum to create machines with more autonomous capabilities robotswhich can take certain decisions themselves but with this new era ofwarfare look like and do the legal and political structures exist to deal withit these are big big meta meta changes thatare happening at war that we've gotta wrap our heads around so i see this is avery major threat to respect for human rights but it's more going to look likewhen it's robot versus robot who wins that war and and how can you even tell this is the largest gathering ofrobotics companies in the world it's

organized by auvsi the association ofunmanned vehicle systems international so these are successfully used inoperation reactors hundreds of private corporations and university researchersare here to show off their latest cutting-edge inventions and so there'sthings that we can actually pick up with the gripper use them to defuse a bomband then we'll come back they're all either selling their products forsoliciting funds for their projects and most of them are targeting a singlecustomer with deep pockets the us military this is an annual conference with therobotics industry in washington dc the

years ago this is a pretty smallgathering this year they'll be over seven thousand attendees it's anenormous business here now it covers everything be surprised whatyou can find everything from unmanned boats ships submarines to armed dronehelicopters and just air portion of the robotics or unmanned industries thisyear will be worth seven billion dollars in 2009 the us defense departmentearmark 18 billion dollars over five years for the development of unmannedsystems this boom in military robotics comes off the back of the so-calledglobal war on terror the wars in iraq and afghanistan along with lethal actionin pakistan libya have created a

political strategic space for unmannedrobotics systems it's not a situation where you're inthese big information operations of fights you're dealing with with veryexplosive very spontaneous events so you need something that's watching all thetime and something that's very adaptable to be able to move it from one locationto another very very quickly the us air force is presently training moreunmanned systems operators than its training man fighter plane and manbomber plane pilots put together but that actually makes perfect sensebecause they're actually buying more unmanned systems then they're buying manfighter planes or man bomber planes the

number of drones in use by the usmilitary has searched from a handful of 2001 to over 7,000 today and the numberof ground robots shot from 0 to 12,000 when you start to take a look the amount of robot research funded bythe us military is astonishing fault lines put in more than 100 requests andfollow-ups to the pentagon military contractors private robotics companiesand university research labs beginning access to see how these tax dollars areput into use is it easy we could actually get a response is almost alwaysa firm no after several months of chasing only a handful agreed to allowus to build our deck was one of them

it sits on a base just outside detroitmichigan just want to try it out drive careful that's it an army researchfacility from world war two it used to build tanks that now muchother work is dedicated to robotic technology we're looking at here at ourdeck is unstructured environment so robots that can move out of out of rodthe area of very strict programming so one of the ways of doing that is throughteleoperation so we have no it's not the classic robot it somebody actuallycontrolling something is that a remote control car because doing through tv setall the robots here are collaborations between tardec and private companies oruniversity labs for both companies like

i robot in bedford massachusetts this isthe home of the packbot one of the first ground base robots the us militaryadopted after 911 thousands are being used in iraq andafghanistan to diffuse improvised explosive devices or ieds the old way ofdoing business was to ask individual our sons our daughters our brothers oursisters to mount up one of those heavy cumbersome hot bomb suits and literallythe waddle health to go face-to-face with an iep today we do that a distanceand we do it virtually the robot much much better way to do business so thisthing about this was like it weighs about 25 pounds or so and just what themilitary warning

robot that you could throw the overallwall or something and look it writes itself and now you can see over the ballwith the camera with video game-like controllers soldiers can guide reconrobots like this one to see over walls or defuse bombs these ground-basedrobots at a buffer between the soldiers that use them in a potential threatwhether it's a bomb or human enemy but technology designed to save lives can beeasily modified to kill the step between putting a laser beam on someone'sforehead it's not a technologically to thenputting a bullet in their forehead it's actually a legal political questionwe feel strongly and ethically that

there has to be a man in the loop if youlook at the history of you have any military technology it typically startsin reconnaissance then becomes frustrated that you see bad happeningbut can't deal with them and involves two strike really the technology willhappen it's how we're going to deal with thattechnology well the idea of arming ground robotsstill seems taboo in the air it's a line that has long been crossed at a utah army testing facility themilitary has invited members of the media to a display of its unmannedaerial systems

i'm gonna showcase an entire package foryou here today in a way that i think it's not really resonate with you onceyou see what's inside behind that hard it's the largest drone demonstration theus defense department has ever allowed to be filmed as the drones fly overheadjournalist watch the mock operation from inside a hangar from 7,000 meters in theair to graeagle plus its target may die on that struggle it's estimated that thepentagon will invest nearly 37 billion dollars toward drone development through2020 advancing unmanned systems more than piloted aircraft and i think it'sfundamentally change water i think it's fundamentally change weoperate they eventually is going to

fundamentally change the way we live inthe united states and now we have a technology that allows you to carry outacts of force without having to think about some of the consequences thepolitical consequences of sending sons or daughters into harm's way so in mymind the barriers to war in our society they were already being lowered now wehave a technology that literally takes those barriers to the ground 1700 whichmake it such an attractive tool for the us but drones are some of the mostcontroversial weapons in the american arsenal particularly in their use for targetedkillings a phrase first term under the

bush administration so-called war onterror to use lethal force against specific individuals it means killingpeople often outside official war zones the program has been ramped up under theobama administration in places where they would be very serious geopoliticalramifications and the gratification of american lives being placed on theground even those dangerous situations the drone appears like a silver bullet pakistan has borne the brunt of thesilver bullet and it's all secret the cia not the military runs the pakistanidrone program the cia is not required to offer any information about itsoperations how it flexes targets who's

in charge and how many people are killedand the obama administration will not officially discuss the cia drone programnot even to confirm or deny its existence if they can't even say theword where's the accountability how could we even know how well thisprogram is working even if you want to put inside the questions about whetherwe should be using drones as instruments of war there's just so littletransparency and so much opacity when it comes to this program where it belongsto the cia that some people now think if it belonged to the military you could atleast get more insight into how it works and then debate about whether it shouldbe run this way

reportedly civilians and privatecontractors control the cia drones pushing a button from their officesthousands of miles away in langley virginia at the time this film was madethere have been 308 drone strikes reported in pakistan since 2004 256 ofthose under president obama that figure could be far higher over 200 strikes hitthe region of 10 standalone roughly one attack every four days conservativeestimates but the total number of deaths around 2900 of those over 750 werecivilians including a hundred seventy five children and at least 1,100 peoplehave been injured the cia and the obama administration and extended thesestrikes to yemen and somalia and

according to recent us diplomatic cablesreleased by wikileaks the united states building secret drone bases in placeslike ethiopia in the seychelles an indication that washington was toincrease surveillance and strikes in the region at least a dozen strikes havebeen carried out in yemen one of which in late-september killed anwar al-awlakian american morning mob with alleged ties to al-qaeda the willingness totarget and kill a us citizen provides just one example of how this secret waroften operates beyond recognize legal boundaries if a intelligence operationcarries out an air strike that goes arrived it accidentally kill civiliansthat violates the rules of engagement

there's not a court-martial process isthat up there is in my view at the end of the no accountability for what isgoing on now philip austin's been six years studying the legality of the usdrone program for the united nations human rights council the congressionalcommittees have as far as anyone knows never exercised oversight in anyspecific way in relation to these killings he says that the american governmentsjustification for the strikes self-defense a response to 911 even now10 years later as a manipulation of the internationallaws governing conflict now in terms of

international law that represents afundamental breakdown in what are called the rules on the use of force it wouldenable the united states to use force against any target any country any timefollowing 911 congress passed a resolution called the authorization foruse of military force or aumf it allows the us president to use military forceanywhere against people believed to be responsible for 911 and when the obamaadministration has been asked what authorities do you possess to go youknow into yemen to go into somalia even you know outside afghanistan intopakistan for the purposes of attacking people that you say are aligned withal-qaeda they use the aumf i think the

u.s. is certainly risking setting itselfup for a significant global backlash against its extension of powerextraterritorial e but the bigger problem across his other states sayingwell this is the norm you do it why shouldn't we do it the un human rightscouncil has taken no action to further investigate the legality of the us droneprogram whether us continues to expand the program 45 other nations are workingon their own drones many being sold on the open market and the rush to turn outrobotic military systems who buys these technologies and how they are used asminimal international oversight in short the law is not keeping up withthe pace of development you know

technology doesn't stop and that's ithink one thing that people need to realize is that is acceleratingever-faster not just in the number that were using it but how advanced is weaccelerated pace of development is such that it is inevitable that we arecreating machines that are going to be able to do things we cannot currentlyconceive of them doing i think it's the united states wereserious part of this major program to if you want to create a word to robot eyesit's war making functions would be to build in various safeguards designed toensure respect for the laws of war there has been a mad dash for advancement withvery little consideration for how that

advancement will play out against humansociety and reject king is a futurist who studies the potential dangers thattechnological advances in robotics and artificial intelligence complaint withinthe united states you have the military and then you have you know privatebusiness and you have universities so all these different groups are doingtheir own research and their own creations at different paces andeventually there will be more of a coming together of these differentaspects of the programming and the creations and we will cross the line in a university lab at virginia techprofessor dennis hogging the students

work on a robotic soccer team the realthing is if you want to use these robots outside a lot and you life doing yourwork then without all the skills needed to playing soccer and what happened soactually it's a really good controlled a competition but i can develop all thetechnologies needed for robust to be used in real life virginia tech's funding comes from avariety of sources these robots are part of a project sponsored by the nationalscience foundation but they also take on projects financed by the us military soas a research lab the technology we do do we want the society to be using ourtechnology of course many of our

robotics projects most of them not allof them are two really to help the society but here they recognize thetechnologies ultimate use is unpredictable time to time as a group wesit down and discuss about these kind of problems mainly it's very sensitiveespecially for we work on military funded projects that those kind ofthings but many times we don't have any control once it leaves our hand howeverthat's true for any technologies nescience besides robotics as well it'shard to put a timeline on how fast robots and artificial intelligence willdevelop but almost everyone we spoke to seem to believe that in just a fewdecades the robots that will exist in

our world will be unrecognizable bytoday's standards i think the probability is virtually one certainty that machine's will be as intelligent aspeople that we will have intelligent robots robots will be vic was so thenthe consensus of people in the industry is somewhere around 2025 20-30 you knowand even if you would say that's optimistic so maybe it's 2050 you knowmaybe some of us won't be around to see it perhaps but it's not that far in thefuture it's not a thousand years inside 500 years it's certainly not never

when people say machines will never beas smart as people never is a very long time the robots that we create could ofcourse eventually will become much smarter than we are and because they'resmarter than us we won't be able to conceive of how smart they are and we'llhave no control over that and i don't think our brains are really equipped toaccept the enormity of what that means because we do find ourselves intelligentnow science fiction stories always made predictions about conflict betweenmachines and people the way to avoid that is for humans to always be at leastas intelligent as their machines while

we may not know exactly if for windrobots will become as intelligent as humans technology at auvsi the talk ofautonomy like military robots taking more decisions by themselves is growingtechniques you know work on the next generation of autonomy maybe before it'sreally needed to show where it can go generates talking about unfair advantageand i'm in full agreement with him we want unfair advantage we want lots ofunfair advantage why shouldn't we and unmanned systems and especiallyweaponized unmanned systems clearly provide a huge advantage so how far will robot autonomy go itwill robot ever be allowed to make the

ultimate decision to take a human lifeofficially the us military claims there will always be a man in the loop thathuman will always make the decision to kill but there are signs that this maynot always be the case in 2006 the army funded a major study to find out iflethal autonomous robots could be programmed to act ethically on thebattlefield there's a long and rich history of warcrimes in every war we try and train our soldiers and soldiers are instructed inthis but we are human beings and there is emotions there's anger fearfrustration we don't have to put those in autonomous systems we can engineerout the emotions that get in the way ron

arkham a professor at georgia techworked on this study and argues that robots can be more ethical than humansoldiers even in decisions to kill by programming and what he calls foundmorality as you establish a venue a region or a task environment or amission under which the system is operating and you engineer that systemto make sure that it acts appropriately under those particular circumstanceswhether it makes that decision what to fire at a window fire and who to firethat i think is a critical decision that we that we already sort of ritualizedwithin the military decision process and we shouldn't relinquish that there'sreasons to deny people their right to

life self-defense intervening on behalfof another to defend their life but um those are decisions that german agentsand moral agent should be making and not automatic processes i will never evermake the claim that these systems will be perfect but i do make the claim thati do i do may i have the belief that these systems can outperform humanbeings in the battlefield ultimately from an ethical perspective we do have amoral responsibility to try to prevent scented to not invest our time andenergy and resources scientists as a society into building a technology thathas that kind of capacity to kill people on its own but for now there are nosigns that research like this will stop

because there's an assumption thatunderlies not only our kids work but also the billion spent on defenseassumption that war will always continue was a very cultural thing some kind ofthe social deliberations sort of moral deliberation our cultural deliberationif you will like how do we want to fight wars what is it to be a warrior in thesociety and what is this society decide that war is about and it's good for inthe past battles had formal boundaries and ends where each side had to burytheir own but it's more robots go to war on behalf of humans mistake to societyhold its killing becomes more automated does it make war all too easy

i think that is a big issue as far aswhat these technologies are going to do and making more much easier to becomeinvolved and really detaching especially the united states of american publicfrom its sense of responsibility and and moral and social deliberation thatshould go into deciding when wars occur a lot of people say well why don't westop working on this technology there's a problem you'd have to stop science it means you also have to first stop warand stop capitalism and there's such a vast amount of money that goes intothinking about defense problems and

solving defense problems that if we turnthat time and energy and resources into solving more practical problems we wouldactually probably alleviate most of the social and political problems thatcaused us to to have defense and security concerns and the fact of the matter is that mostof the funding that's going into robot research of course is to create a betterwar machine and to what end it demonstrates how far we are from thesort of intelligence we need to build robots that can help


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