Published in Ethics and Robotics, January 1, 2009, pages 49-67.
Copyright © 2009 by Patrick Lin, George Bekey, and Keith Abney. Published by IOS Press.
War robots clearly hold tremendous advantages-from saving the lives of our own soldiers, to safely defusing roadside bombs, to operating in inaccessible and dangerous environments such as mountainside caves and underwater. Without emotions and other liabilities on the battlefield, they could conduct warfare more ethically and effectively than human soldiers who are susceptible to overreactions, anger, vengeance, fatigue, low morale, and so on. But the use of robots, especially autonomous ones, raises a a host of ethical and risk issues. This paper offers a a survey of such emerging issues in this new but rapidly advancing area of technology.