Robo Ethicists vs. Hunter-Killer Sentries

Reuters and many others are reporting on an Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems Ltd.'s unveiling of its VIPeR (Versatile, Intelligent, Portable Robot) unmanned combat robot. While this isn't the first of its kind, it may be the first to actually see combat given Israel's statements that it plans to deploy the VIPeR among its infantry units after field tests.

Like other remote operated bots developed for military use it's designed to navigate rough environments, and it's modular enough to carry out many tasks such as surveillance, IED detection (as pictured), and combat using an Uzi automatic pistol or grenade launcher. A feature that sets the VIPeR apart though is its size. Some of the other backpack bots practically require a team member dedicated to carrying it around. The VIPeR on the other hand is the size of a small TV (18" x 18" x 9"H) and weighs in at only 25lbs.

At the same time, a continent or two away, South Korea, known for it's own killer robot sentries is drafting a "Robot Ethics Charter". According to the BBC the charter, to be drafted by "a five member team of experts that includes futurists and a science fiction writer", will lay some ground rules for human-robot interaction. Many assume this will in some way incorporate Asimov's three laws, but in addition to that the Korean's seem just as interested in governing how the humans treat their robots.
"Imagine if some people treat androids as if the machines were their wives," Park Hye-Young of the ministry's robot team told the AFP news agency.
If this were Japan I'd assume the "team of experts" had been infiltrated by androids. That doesn't seem to be the case, however. Their proposals are expected to be issued in Rome in April.

Thanks to Slashdot

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