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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Want to break Netflix? It'll pay you to do the job
'Senior Chaos Engineer' sought to inflict all sorts of nasty, nasty, pain
HOT BABES! Worried you won't get that JOB in IT? MENTION how hot you are
'Don't hate me 'cos I'm beautiful' ploy for sad honeys
Oracle to DBAs: your certification is about to become worthless paper
So hurry up and get a new one, will all of you who took exams for 10g and lower?
HP's axe swings AGAIN: 5,000 more staffers for the chop
Extra job cuts not linked to PC and printer biz split
Phones 4u demise: 1,700 employees laid off with redundo package
'Limited interest in remaining 362 stores', says administrator PwC
Germany strikes again over Amazon warehouse pay
Employees to walk out in long-running wage dispute
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.