Rise of the machines

A very good article at The New Atlantis (via Arts and Letters Daily) on the advent of military robotics. Despite its high profile in science fiction, the reality has been rather slow in developing. As with earlier technologies, war has been the accelerator. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan on top of the existing technological base widened the scope of possible robotic applications to an extent that would have been surprising even ten years ago. It doesn’t seem to be an exaggeration to say that in coming decades the nature of war will be fundamentally transformed. This will also bring to the fore a number of emerging ethical problems: do we really want to arm fully autonomous robots with lethal force?