Accustomisation to Lethal Autonomous Robots

To get a sense of how the development of autonomously acting robot weapon systems is becoming an established notion in the U.S. and allied military-political-media contexts, take a look at freelance journalist/former Pentagon staffer Joshua Foust’s article in the National Journal last week: ‘Soon, Drones May Be Able to Make Lethal Decisions on Their Own’. In fact the article argues that this is not going to that soon at all, but is rather discussing how LAR’s (Lethal Autonomous Robots) would solve some problems while creating others for military planners and political leaders. The headline performs the principal task of introducing a coming technological development; this is the key bit of ‘news’: something new is coming down the pipeline and we need to have a think about what to do with it. Deploying LARs may be the best means of preventing the hacking of drones, suggests former intelligence analyst and Defense One writer, Foust, by reducing the communications avenues into the robotic system. But the complexity of ‘asymmetrical conflicts’ is a formidable challenge to their successful deployment, ‘political issues aside’. Syria is just too complicated for drones or even human warfighters to figure out, according to one military academic cited. But, the reader assumes, they’re working on it, and soon the decision-making gap will be narrowed between these two military assets.

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