Autonomous Military Technologies
This 6-pp backgrounder by James Jay Carafano says autonomous technologies “may well be a defining characteristic of future generations of military systems” and endorses current US policy, which it interprets as reserving the use of lethal force for human operators.
The debate over the use of armed drones continues to dominate discussions about the future of war. Yet, a serious squabble is building behind the current controversy like the dark clouds of the next storm gathering on the horizon. Drones conduct operations without the controlling human in proximity to the battlefield. Future autonomous weapons might find and attack targets not only without the human present, but with no human in the decision-making loop at all.
This publication can be found on the Heritage website here.
Understanding the capabilities and limits of autonomous technology dispels fears of Terminator-like robots taking over the world and refocuses the discussion on the opportunities that these systems present, and the responsibility of lawmakers to set clear guidelines for their development.