Diplomats from around the world met in Geneva this week to reach agreements on how to operate autonomous weapons systems, and many are calling for a total ban on technology. One country is who are particularly opposed to these agreements: the United States.
First in the negotiations logged in about The Guardian, U.S. official Josh Dorosin he disagreed with calls for binding legal instruments to limit the use of autonomous weapons, insisting instead on more voluntary efforts.
“In our opinion, the best way to make progress,” Dorosin said, “would be to develop a non-binding code of conduct.” Opposing the ban, the United States joins the companies of Russia, China and India, which have all raised their noses at the idea of banning the “killer robot”.
These proposed bans would be fatal autonomous weapon systems that can look at their own environment and make a decision, potentially lead to human death, notes The Financial Times. The exact form factor of these systems can vary and may include ground drones or aircraft. These criteria in particular would not include the types of drones that are already regularly used by US and other armies in battles because these systems still require a human operator to make final decisions. There are definitely more self-sufficient autonomous systems developed though.
US Government indecision over the ban on autonomous weapons is in stark contrast to the growing body of activists and nations. So far, at least 30 countries have expressed support for banning autonomous weapons systems according to Washington Post. costa rica and New Zealand added its names to the list this week, with the arms control minister saying the military use of such technologies was “disgusting and inconsistent” with the country’s values.
Human rights groups around the world have also expressed support for the ban, including Human Rights Watch, which says governments must prioritize humanity over automation. “Why do we let ‘killer robots’ decide when to use force?” asked. “Without significant human control, ‘killer robots’ pose serious threats.”
Calls for an autonomous arms ban have even received support from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who announced last year statement saying that synchronization systems should be banned by international law.
Not only that USA andinterested in restriction autonomous weapons, but he is also actively advised to move in the opposite direction. The United States was formed a few years ago National Security Commission for AI, whose ultimate goal is to gather intelligence and produce major reports for the President and Congress proposing solutions to improve AI in national defense. The commission is headed by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and includes other tech titans such as Andy Jassy of Amazon and Eric Horvitz of Microsoft as trustees.
In short, the group is 2021 report in particular, he gave up entering into an autonomous arms ban and instead pressured to increase investment in military artificial intelligence in order to maintain superiority over China and Russia.
“As these authoritarian states set up new AI enabled “military systems, we are concerned that they will not be limited by the same rigorous testing and code of ethics that guide the US military,” the report said.
The authors further suggest that autonomous weapons systems could be inevitable, given the growing number of complex decisions that operators will have to make in future battles.
“The best human operator cannot defend itself against multiple machines that make thousands of maneuvers per second, potentially moving at hypersonic speeds and orchestrated by AI in various domains,” the report said. “People can’t be everywhere at once, but software can.”
So, even as the pressure grows around the world to ban autonomous systems, it seems that the United States is ready to use the argument “but if we don’t, China will”, an argument for the foreseeable future.
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