Are Robot Warriors Headed Into Battle?
Some countries are developing autonomous killing machines.
Several robot models have been designed to carry machine guns and advanced rifles. The company iRobot, which makes the Roomba vacuum cleaner, has developed a robot to taser an enemy. The U.S. Navy has tested an unmanned drone that is capable of taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier and can deploy two tons of artillery.
Proponents see benefits, including the ability to wage combat with an indefatigable military, as well as the advantage of fewer casualties. But international organizations are hesitant about such dangerous technology and the risks it may pose. National Geographic asked Christof Heyns—a human rights lawyer and the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions—about lethal autonomous robots (LARs),