Our world has reached the point where things in a sci-fi novel are taking shape here in the real world. AI robots are indeed a plausible solution to ease our burdens, but should they be given the authority to take lives by engaging in war?
by Akshitha Sahu
The world today is not the same as it was just a few years ago. While it’s hard to fathom how much can change in so little time, we are still faced with making a decision for the future. Artificial intelligence (AI) is something that has already started to make its way into essential parts of our lives, and the future we prospect will only be more intense with advanced technology. The question that pesters many is how much power we are willing to give AI robots, more importantly, if they should have the authority to take lives.
This is where the trilemma lies. One side claims that AI robots are beneficial for killing, while another states that it’s too risky. However, could there possibly be a midpoint between both?
Armed AI robots have a better outcome.
Robots are the future, and the best way forward is to use autonomous robots with certain capabilities that humans shy away from. Specifically in war, the Army University Press says that AI robots can multiply force, which means that fewer fighters are needed to fight in the war.
Imagine living your worst nightmares time and time again. Imagine these nightmares as memories of a battlefield. The pure chaos that veterans have
to deal with causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is such an experience where the individual would live the moment which started the trauma over and over again. The American Psychiatric Association tells the story of such a person after returning from a posting in Afghanistan. The veteran had a temper that could be tipped off by a straw and had a nature which exploded at others. In all honesty, this is not an experience anyone should have to go through. But that doesn’t change the fact that 11-20 people out of 100 veterans suffer from PTSD, explained the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. By using automated AI robots in war, the number of veterans who have to live with PTSD can be reduced. The constant reminders of their battles could be prevented.
Along with the mental health benefits, with the help from AI, the number of casualties faced during war is likely to decrease as well. People who fight with their lives wouldn’t have to constantly worry about losing them. AI seems reliable and can be programmed to suit the situation at hand. This adaptability of the robot can cause real advances.
(Clarification: This article is not meant to glorify war).
Armed AI robots are far too risky.
While AI bots may seem to be the best, there are a few questions we must ask. Do we want to have armed robots that could possibly malfunction and threaten the community where our children play? What about the destruction they can cause? Robots can go haywire. Ever
heard of “rogue robots?” This is when a robot’s AI gets so corrupted that they turn against us. It’s the classic scenario we expect in a fictional movie. The creator invents something that seeks to overthrow the creator, and usually is overthrown in the end. With this situation, there’s so much that can go wrong. AI cannot be trusted completely and is imperfect. Do we want to put weapons in the hands of something that has the ability to kill other people?
Another hard truth is that AI robots have the capability to take away the jobs of people who need them. People who lose their jobs wouldn’t have the time to learn a new profession and work in the AI field where more jobs likely open up. AI robots, especially those that are weaponized and would be in high demand, would take the places of people who previously worked in that position.
Some may point to machine learning and the fact that an AI robot has the ability to learn through its mistakes. On the contrary, it’s significantly important to consider the instances where AI robots have failed and caused harm to people. Though Asimov’s laws of robotics are designed to make sure that robots don’t harm humans, these laws aren’t always abided by.
Is this a risk we’re willing to take? Clearly, there are more questions asked than answered, and this simply cannot be how we do things with dangerous robots. If we know that there is the slightest chance of failure when it comes to human lives and killer AI bots, which there is, we shouldn’t implement this idea.
A New Glance at AI
When some close their eyes and think about the future, they may imagine the human race having to go to war with robots that they created themselves. The truth is that we cannot tell if this outcome is too far-fetched because there are simply too many unknowns. Initiating AI robots and authorizing them with the ability to take lives may prove to be too hasty of an action. With the factors that could go wrong, it’s beyond clear that this solution is far too severe. However, if we try to implement an idea between both extremes, an effective solution may be reached.
Using AI robots in our society in ways more minimal than taking lives could prove more effective. Our society could try to work towards an automated life. Instead of a robot that kills people, we could have robots that do our laundry for us. Or arrange our clothes. [Can you tell that I’ve got chores to do?] Equipped AI robots in our society could make our lives easier. After all, that’s what most people aspire to do in one way or another.
Some may continue to argue that AI is something that will take away human mobility, I would say that they’re not completely wrong. Yes, having robots that make our lives easier would give us the time to focus on other things, but self-reliance is something I strive for.
To find a solution that can be a compromise, choosing to initiate AI robots in smaller parts of our lives may be the best way to make our lives uncomplicated while preserving our mobility.