Blog 3 Arts3091

Posted on March 26, 2012 by


“Lethal actions should have a clear chain of accountability,” said Noel Sharkey, a computer scientist and robotics expert. “This is difficult with a robot weapon. The robot cannot be held accountable. So is it the commander who used it? The politician who authorized it? The military’s acquisition process? The manufacturer, for faulty equipment?”

In Hennigan’s article, “New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who’s accountable?”,  it was the Sharkey’s input that I believe reiterates the significance of what is reality. With the technological military development of the twenty first century the creation of drones as a weapon in war raises several ethical dilemmas that add to the intensity of a disturbing reality. The deaths of thousands,  millions, resulted as a product of a robotic tool and only fingers pointed at who’s accountable leaves me in dismay as to whether this digital realm we are entering is really leading to the deterioration of all sense of humanity, morality and principle.

While there is also the question of who is responsible for this machine, it’s creator or perpetrator, the genuine horror comes from the fact that the U.S military’s dependence on a robot as a means lowering the “cost” i.e economic saviour. Yet this idea of “greatly reduced causalities” is one that has been contested by several academics and identified explicitly in Stephen Grey’s Ghost Plane.

Furthermore my conclusion from this article is derived from what I perceive to be the reality in our technological world; The ability to use technology as a tool for destruction in order to achieve economic and political aims at the cost of thousands of unaccounted lives. A reality in which, of the thousands of lives taken from these robots, thousands are not documented, errors may occur and guilt left unclaimed. The creation of this robot is just another justification for the atrocities that occur in war and a scapegoat for politicians, policy makers, technicians, pilots and the U.S military who now can blame a robot for their mistakes. There needs to be a solution in holding someone accountable and that can only be done when technology doesn’t dehumanise man which is what these robots do (but that’s okay because they’re cost effective). We need a greater focus on the ethics surrounding such activities especially when technology is involved. There is a loss in sense of what is right and wrong and that is not on technology, it’s of man.


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