Twitter Facebook Google RSS
 
National Defense > Blog > Posts > Poll: Americans Opposed to Autonomous ‘Killer Robots’
Poll: Americans Opposed to Autonomous ‘Killer Robots’
By Sarah Sicard



A recent survey showed that most Americans oppose the use of robotic weaponry without humans in the decision loop.

Fifty-five percent of the respondents in a survey conducted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst said they were either “strongly opposed” or “somewhat opposed” to nations employing fully autonomous weapons, said a report released June 19.

“While much of the recent public debate has focused on remote-controlled military drones, there has been less research on what people think about fully-autonomous weapons,” said the organizer of the survey, Charli Carpenter, associate professor of political science at UMass Amherst. The survey made it clear that this was not about the current debate over remotely piloted aircraft targeting insurgents in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen.

The survey, which sampled 1,000 U.S. residents in various racial, age, and political groups, used two different terms to pose its questions: “fully autonomous weapons” and the more emotional “killer robots.” Changing rhetoric had little effect on the feelings expressed by the participants, she said. The responses remained unchanged; opposition to the machines was consistent and widespread, she added.

“People are scared by the idea of removing humans from the loop, not simply scared of the label,” said Carpenter.

While armed robots have found their way to the battlefield, versions that could automatically recognize a target and fire a weapon without a human operator giving a command, have not. However, several nations have expressed an interest in developing them, Carpenter said.  

Of the groups surveyed, the highest level of disapproval for the weapons came from the military community, the poll found. Its members came out at 73 percent against the weapons.

“It is interesting to note that military personnel, veterans and those with family in the military are more strongly opposed to autonomous weapons than the general public, with the highest opposition among active duty troops,” Carpenter wrote in a blog that accompanied the report’s release.

Carpenter decided to look into the question because of the emergence of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an international coalition of non-governmental organizations that in April launched a movement to ban fully autonomous weapons.

“This question matters in terms of the international law on new weapons, because an important treaty clause [under discussion at the United Nations] states that ‘the public conscience’ should serve to guide policy decisions in the absence of clear rules,” she said. “These findings would suggest that people across the board do tend to feel very concerned about the development of these forms of weapons.”

Those who said they were not strongly opposed to the weaponry paired their responses with a desire to “protect the troops,” she said.

A second question asked respondents if they would support a global treaty banning the use of fully autonomous weapons. Thirty-three percent said they would “strongly support” such a ban and 20 percent said they would “somewhat support” it.

The survey results can be found here.
 
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Comments

Re: Poll: Americans Opposed to Autonomous ‘Killer Robots’

People opposed to 'Killer' Robots; about the same number, 55%, who vote in US, though I see no correlation.  I am fairly certain that Robots will never enjoy killing. A factor that is genetically present in the human race. Nor will robots' killing be affected by the semantic variables employed by this article.
I would be very interested in employing this exact survey to those 55% when they, unarmed and defenseless, are being slaughtered by the monsters, machine or human, of your choice.

******************************

Peace Love Revolution
                               Not necessarily in that order
Robert Walther at 6/30/2013 8:40 AM

Add Comment

Items on this list require content approval. Your submission will not appear in public views until approved by someone with proper rights. More information on content approval.

Name: *

eMail *

Comment *

Title

Attachments

Name: *


eMail *


Comment *


 

Refresh
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.

Characters *

  

Legal Notice *

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

 

 

Bookmark and Share