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Thread: Losing Humanity?

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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    Losing Humanity?

    Interesting report on the morality and legality of automated warfare platforms

    Losing Humanity | Human Rights Watch

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    Military Professional S2's Avatar
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    "...The primary concern of Human Rights Watch and IHRC is the impact fully autonomous weapons would have on the protection of civilians during times of war. This report analyzes whether the technology would comply with international humanitarian law and preserve other checks on the killing of civilians. It finds that fully autonomous weapons would not only be unable to meet legal standards but would also undermine essential non-legal safeguards for civilians...

    ...As this report shows, robots with complete autonomy would be incapable of meeting international humanitarian law standards. The rules of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity are especially important tools for protecting civilians from the effects of war, and fully autonomous weapons would not be able to abide by those rules..."


    Nice to get out ahead of technology for a change. I know less-than fully autonomous weapons like REAPER and PREDATOR have already created hand-wringing concerns about issues of legality...to no good purpose. "...distinction, proportionality, and military necessity..." should only come to question where the proximity of civilians to potential targets suggest a POSSIBILITY of harm. Even then distinction and proportionality should be subordinated to military necessity. Finally, are all civilians sacrosanct without question? If so, why? Let us be clear that warfare today provides countless examples where the "...civilian..." blur their relationship with our adversaries by virtue of active assistance while clinging to the inviolate sanctity of presumed innocence.

    I wonder.

    Minnie, have you read the writings of Ms. Farhat Taj?
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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    1.The impact of such weapons is largely overstated.If good for nothing that those organizations had existed 1000 years ago they would have been very concerned about the impact of the crossbow or the musket.The things could be less acurate than a sword so,if civilians were in the proximity of the target they might gotten hurt.Concerned they were back then about the impact of the new weapons,but for other reasons
    2.The commander is responsible for everything his men do or fail to do.So the launching of autonomous drones can be seen in an analogous way.Whoever decides to let them go,is responsible.I recall a big hoopla among the designers when faced the prospect of being responsible for their robots actions.IMO,they were right.Is like blaming the parents or teachers if our soldiers behave like idiots.We are the ones that gave them guns and sent them in the field.
    3.Such organizations as HRW are a real danger to the larger interests and ultimately to the very safety of the Western nations.Drone proliferation is a reality.Much of the best and innovative systems don't come from the West.However,for our foes to increase their effectivness by a few orders of magnitude there is no need for high tech drones. A few junks made in the backyard are good enough.Drones are here to stay and they will have an impact on the battlefield.This is the new RMA and in its light much of our military culture and organization is already obsolete.We need no further hindrance.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    Minnie, have you read the writings of Ms. Farhat Taj?


    Some of her writings Steve. I had the university obtain a copy of 'Taliban and Anti-Taliban'. Farhat Taj originally piqued my interest with this 2010 analytic piece - Drone attacks: challenging some fabrications

    She nicely bridges the drone information void between US silence and Pakistani/Haqqani propaganda.

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    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    I'm not worried about the "protection of civilians" IRT drone strikes.

    But I am worried that it makes killing to easy. I was going to post another article a while back about making it where soldiers and indirect weapon systems would be able to "Keep score"

    How Video Game Statistics Could Transform War - Yahoo! News

    I don't have a problem with automated weapon malfunction/failure reports but when they talk about eventually getting down to this.

    Tank commanders and helicopter pilots might see a kill ratio for how many enemy vehicles they've destroyed compared to the rest of their unit, or even to the entire Army.
    "The same energy and pride that goes into climbing the rankings of 'Call of Duty' multiplayer could be turned towards higher soldier performance, whether that entails killing tanks, delivering fuel or saving lives," Musgrave said."

    Then again, I'm the old fart that years ago said that we should make war as brutal and bloody as possible. You know short sword and leather shield up close and brutal. No sitting in an a/c room steering a drone hundreds of miles away , pushing a button to "Take out a target" then grabbing a coke and signing off shift.

    Because then our leaders wouldn't be is such a hurry to go to war.
    Last edited by Gun Grape; 15 Jan 13, at 02:20.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    No sitting in an a/c room steering a drone hundreds of miles away , pushing a button to "Take out a target" then grabbing a coke and signing off shift.
    It is indeed a detached form of warfare. One problem is that the technology - albeit very sophisticated - doesn't tell you everything you need to know to make a foolproof decision. Sometimes you have mere seconds to juggle numerous mental calculations before the target window closes. The best you can hope for is that the technology, coupled with training, experience, mental agility, and simple intuition... all serve to mitigate collateral damage.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Minskaya,

    My take on this stuff as a total outsider is that it is simply another step in a process that has been underway every since artillery acquired the range to kill people outside the vision of the artilleryman or torpedoes allowed ships to be sunk at the edge of visual range. Throw in aircraft, missiles & their attendent developements and you have a steady detachment of soldiers from the direct impact of their weapons. Obviously each new technology brings it own new set of issues, but I don't see anything here we haven't dealt with before. Area bombing & indiscriminate shelling of cities strike me as a great deal more 'detached' than drone strikes. Indeed. there is a very good argument to suggest that technologies that allow the controller relatively close & precise vision of the battlefield are more 'connected' to the outcomes of an operators actions than the vast majority of aerial, missile or artillery. Perhaps more analagous to a sniper Since those are the technologies that are most often being displaced by these new technologies there might even be an argument that to some extent it 're-humanizes' the battlefield.


    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    I think BF has it right. Indiscriminate killing in warfare is nothing new since the advent of artillery, carpet bombing and all such hit & miss tactics. At least with drone technology there is a possibility of being more discriminate. It's a question of the rules of engagement the operator follows.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    I think BF has it right. Indiscriminate killing in warfare is nothing new since the advent of artillery, carpet bombing and all such hit & miss tactics. At least with drone technology there is a possibility of being more discriminate. It's a question of the rules of engagement the operator follows.
    The difference is that this is the first time the player hasn't had "Skin in the game"

    Its killing from the safety of your own home.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    The difference is that this is the first time the player hasn't had "Skin in the game"

    Its killing from the safety of your own home.
    Until the other side figures where you live and sends hit squad to get you.Or even a drone of its own.
    Let's be fair,flying a B52 or a Rafale above A-stan has as few inconvenients as any other deployment for the AF personel.The risk is nil.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    The difference is that this is the first time the player hasn't had "Skin in the game"

    Its killing from the safety of your own home.
    Gunny,

    While that may be true as as broad 'in principle' statement, there are many. many examples from the C20th where the player had next to no 'skin in the game'. Think of the use of aircraft against poorly armed (in relative terms) colonial or insurgent forces from the 20s right up to now; the use of torpedoes against unarmed ships; a good many shore bombardments from WW2 to Lebanon; cruise missles. Sure, this is different again, but the guys shooting tomahawks from US ships at distant targets are at no more risk than the guys flying these things. On the other hand, they are a lot more connected to the people on the wrong end of their weapons than some of thsoe examples I cited.


    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    I agree with BF that 'remote killing' has been a facet of modern warfare for many decades. That said, an additional concern raised by HRW is an ever shrinking time-frame due to digital integration. Increasingly, aspects of digital warfare are approaching a point in which lumbering human oversight is a recipe for disaster. Humans cannot analyze at the blinding speeds required of digital warfare. Ergo, increasing the digital speeds of warfare systems and counter-systems results in an ever shrinking opportunity for human oversight and intervention. Automation and silicon chips will determine battle outcome rather than deliberate human calculation.

    Thoughts?

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minskaya View Post
    I agree with BF that 'remote killing' has been a facet of modern warfare for many decades. That said, an additional concern raised by HRW is an ever shrinking time-frame due to digital integration. Increasingly, aspects of digital warfare are approaching a point in which lumbering human oversight is a recipe for disaster. Humans cannot analyze at the blinding speeds required of digital warfare. Ergo, increasing the digital speeds of warfare systems and counter-systems results in an ever shrinking opportunity for human oversight and intervention. Automation and silicon chips will determine battle outcome rather than deliberate human calculation.

    Thoughts?
    This song was heard before,since the first man picked a club.You have traps for tens of thousands of years and mines for hundreds.Each involves no human in ''deciding'' to kill.However they need humans to decide their tactical and operational use.However there's also the integration of machine into man(or vice-versa if you like it).There's also a phenomenon of rapid evolution of the biological brain.Sounds weird,but the brain adapts to the huge amount of information it has to process.

    You'll have networks,then you'll have organisation of networks.Every system in nature has it's place.See the food chain for example.And you'll also have a vastly different society,where the power will be diffused to lower levels.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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