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

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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 three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
From corporate bod to startup star: The 10-month gig that changed everything
What I learned as a techie in my time away from globo firms
Facebook snubbed Google's Silicon Valley wage-strangle pact, Sheryl Sandberg claims
Report details letter COO wrote to court addressing 'no-compete deal' lawsuit
Another day, another nasty Android vuln
Memory corruption mess can brick your mobe
Barclays warns freelance techies of DOUBLE DIGIT rate cut
'IT was a car crash before, so this isn't going to get any better' - sources
VMware announces compulsory bi-ennial VCP recertification
Downside: more time and money; Upside: VMware hints at two-yearly release cycle
Sysadmins and devs: Do these job descriptions make any sense?
Industry lobby group defines skills used in 25 common IT jobs
Who earns '$7k a month' but can't even legally drink? A tech intern!
Glassdoor reveals astonishing salaries of Silicon Valley undergrads
Your CIO is now a venture capitalist and you work at their startup
This just happened without you changing job, by the way
Turnover at the top in Oz telco-land as AAPT, Huawei, Optus, lose top brass
Move along, nothing to see here but orderly transitions
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.