Feeds

Work for the military? Don't be evil, says ethicist

Engineers should 'Just Say No' to working on drones, philosopher says

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Engineers should refuse to work on killer robots, says Australian ethicist Dr Robert Sparrow.

Sparrow's definition of a killer robot includes the Predator drone, a weapon he finds objectionable because “Military robots are making it easier for governments to start wars, thinking that they won't incur any casualties on their own side."

That means “The ethics of working on military robotics today cannot be entirely divorced from the ethics of the ends to which military robots are used,” he writes in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.

Sparrow thinks engineers “can agree that we would all be better served if robots were being researched, designed and built to confront some of the urgent social and environmental challenges facing humanity today, rather than to kill or wield political power in foreign lands.” He therefore hopes that even though there are lots of jobs to be had working on killer bots, engineers will look elsewhere for employment.

Sparrow's not suggesting techies take their stand alone, as he recognises that “Given how much robotics research is funded by the military, engineering students looking for a job or a place to undertake their doctorates may face a choice between working on a military project or not gaining entry into their desired profession at all.”

He therefore suggests the best way to stop the proliferation of killer bots “... is best addressed to the robotics community as a whole, rather than individual engineers.”

Sparrow is already part of such an effort, as a founding member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
The gender imbalance in IT is real, ongoing and ridiculous
The Z80 and 6502 generation wore the sexist stereotype, now it's up to them to fix it
What a Mesa: Apple vows to re-use titsup GT sapphire glass plant
Commits to American manufacturing ... of secret tech
100 IT workers face the axe at CSIRO
Union says management's version of events is wrong and that one in five will go
Young Germans: PLEASE! ANYTHING BUT a digital STARTUP
But Spanish and Italian youths want to set them up themselves
Get a job in Germany – where most activities are precursors to drinking
A Brit explains the fun to be had rolling rocks down country lanes
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.