The Ford Lecture Series addresses contemporary and cutting-edge scientific topics while encouraging students and the public to become more conversant with the relevance of science in our everyday lives.
The series is made possible through the generous support of a Saint John's alumnus who wanted to honor one of his favorite and most inspiring professors, Dr. Norman Ford, CSB/SJU professor emeritus of biology.
Professor Ronald Arkin
Lethal Autonomous Robots and the Plight of the Noncombatant
September 28, 2016
Pellegrene Auditorium, Peter Engel Hall, Saint John's Univerity
Ronald Arkin is the Regents' Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Space Planning at Georgia Tech.
Ongoing meetings of the United Nations in Geneva regarding the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons consider the many issues surrounding the use of lethal autonomous weapons systems from a variety of legal, ethical, operational, and technical perspectives. Over 80 nations are represented and engaged in the discussion. This talk reprises the issues the author broached regarding the role of lethal autonomous robotic systems and warfare, and how if they are developed appropriately they may have the ability to significantly reduce civilian casualties in the battlespace. This can lead to a moral imperative for their use, not unlike what Human Rights Watch has attributed regarding the use of precision-guided munitions in urban settings due to the enhanced likelihood of reduced noncombatant deaths. Nonetheless, if the usage of this technology is not properly addressed or is hastily deployed, it can lead to possible dystopian futures. This talk will encourage others to think of ways to approach the issues of restraining lethal autonomous systems from illegal or immoral actions in the context of both International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, whether through technology or legislation.