Author Topic: Terminator Scenario  (Read 158562 times)

ergophobe

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Re: Terminator Scenario
« Reply #450 on: November 23, 2022, 11:55:26 PM »
>>SFPD

Okay... I'm a long-time member of the ACLU, the SPLC and in general a strong advocate for constitutional rights and civil liberties (I've tipped my hand haven't I?)

Still, I think the use of the word "robot" leads to a lot of confusion. There is a huge difference between a remote-controlled device that is being operated by a human operator and an autonomous devices that is being operated without human oversight. This is a case of the former, right, rather than an actual Terminator scenario?

It makes me think of how in the Middle Ages there was a lot of consternation about the introduction of the crossbow, because it allowed an unskilled, not very highly trained person to kill at a distance. The impetus for moral consternation was that the status of knights, a professional soldier class, rested entirely on their prowess in combat and so it was deemed less than honorable to kill someone from a distance.

There was a similar gnashing of teeth regarding firearms, then aerial bombing, then cruise missiles, then drones. Every time we add distance to killing, we have this debate.

There are definitely philosophical issues there. But is it really different to have a sniper kill someone from long range than to have a remote control machine operator move a machine into position and kill someone from what is effectively still long range for the operator, but short range for the weapon? Does an RC operator with multiple video cams have a worse grasp of the scenario than a sniper looking through a scope from 300m? Maybe, but again, in both cases the ability to understand the situation should be the important factor, not the equipment in play.

It seems to me that once you've accepted the sniper in principle, you've accepted the "robot" in principle. The only real difference is that it is not enough for the target to stay safe by avoiding windows. The real question is whether you accept the use of lethal force by one human against another in a given situation.

Now if it was an autonomous machine that simply was trained to recognize the target and kill ASAP, that would be a major change from the crossbow scenario. For example, police in Colorado tackled and cuffed the hero who charged and bludgeoned the gunman because, by the time the police arrived, the hero (is there another word?) was covered in blood and in possession of the gun.  That could have gone very badly with an autonomous assassin vehicle

littleman

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Re: Terminator Scenario
« Reply #451 on: November 24, 2022, 12:45:19 AM »
I agree with you that there is a difference between this and an autonomous robot.  I could actually see instances where the robot can potentially lower fatalities because the operator is not in immediate danger, unlike a  human confronting a gunman in person. 

Two ways I can see this being concerning though are:
1 It makes lethal decision making more remote, makes it less personal in a law enforcement situation (which I would say is fundamentally different than military).

2 It paves the way for future potentially lethal machine interaction.  There may be a time in the future when these devices have their own algorithms governing them as people grow use to machines acting in law enforcement.  What happens when the next generation of AI governed military surplus works it's way into law enforcement, will people even notice?

ergophobe

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Re: Terminator Scenario
« Reply #452 on: November 25, 2022, 07:30:53 PM »
It is definitely true that increasing distance makes killing easier and I didn't mean to diminish that.

I am trying to think through how "remoteness" fits into everything.

I'm more troubled with, say, "extra judicial killing" by drone strike. That's a person that would definitely not get killed and the killer (POTUS) commits the act with pen and paper in the comfort of his office. To me that is where things tip into the very scary. Why? I'm not sure I can fully explain, but I think it's the combination of physical and emotional distance.

And yet you can always justify it - this suspected terrorist was planning to kill 100 people. That calculus really worries me. But as a thought experiment, though, what if I had near-certain knowledge that a person infiltrated a missile base and was preparing to launch a dozen ICBMs? I find my squeamishness much diminished and, to be frank, am troubled by my own moral relativism.

It reminds me of an old All in the Family episode where Archie hears about a bank robbery and proposes a solution:

Archie: "Just put two sharpshooters up there on the mezzadrine (sic) and take the guy out."
Meathhead: "Arch, what happens when one of them misses and kills the little old lady in line behind the robber."
Archie: "That's okay. The other guy won't miss."

Anyway, I find a lot of these incremental changes hard to process and am unsure how to think about them. I guess the question is at what point of sliding down the slippery slope do you realize too late that you are now going much too fast to stop before the abyss? I don't feel like I have good answers just deep uneasiness.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2022, 07:36:16 PM by ergophobe »

rcjordan

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Re: Terminator Scenario
« Reply #453 on: November 30, 2022, 03:56:15 PM »
After raucous meeting, San Francisco approves plan for lethal police robots

https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/San-Francisco-approves-lethal-robots-17619556.php