Trustee Election
These are the original issues in this subcategory
  • NANOTECHNOLOGY
  • CLIMATE GEOENGINEERING
  • AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS
Winning Issue » AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS


Although experts say that Artificial Intelligence is still several decades away, current technology is on the verge of giving us fully weapon systems. For years, our Navy has protected its ships with automated defensive weapon systems that target threats without much human help. Our Army’s counter-mortar system tracks incoming mortar rounds and returns a volley of mortars without direct human input. Once launched, our Air Force’s anti-aircraft missiles seek out the nearest heat source without further human control. The next generation of weapon systems will likely have complete autonomy in terms of what they target and how they engage the enemy, all without any human involvement or intervention. One system approaching this capability is the $200,000 Samsung SGR-1 sentry-bot which patrols the Korean demilitarized zone for South Korea. It uses heat and motion sensors to detect intruders and is armed with machine guns and grenade launchers -although these cannot be fired without human authorization. Current research is determining how to make robots better able to operate on their own for extended periods of time, possibly behind enemy lines. Some of today’s semi-autonomous robots are able to independently choose targets to attack and locate power sources on their own. By 2019, our Navy will debut its secret Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a cruise missile-like weapon that seeks out and destroys targets almost entirely on its own. With a range of at least 200 miles, LRASM will first be deployed on carrier aircraft, with later versions to be launched from ships, submarines and other aircraft.

It is estimated that fully autonomous robots are still about 20 years away from deployment. Critics say we should not remove the human factor from lethal battlefield decisions. Others say properly-programmed autonomous weapons can eliminate some human battlefield mistakes such as misidentifying targets or discounting vital intelligence because of cognitive bias. Our Pentagon has recently issued a temporary pledge that it will keep humans in the loop with regards to targeting and the use of deadly force. However, other nations developing these weapons have made no such pledge.


Pending Legislation: None



Options


  • I oppose reforming current autonomous weapons policy and wish to donate resources to the campaign committee of either Rep. Paul Ryan or Sen. Mitch McConnell
  • I support sponsoring a bill to introduce an international treaty to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons systems and wish to donate resources to the campaign committee of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) or to an advocate group currently working with this issue


Winning Option
  • I support sponsoring a bill to introduce an international treaty to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons systems and wish to donate resources to the campaign committee of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) or to an advocate group currently working with this issue
There has been $0.00 pledged in support of this issue
Trustee Candidates

If elected as a trustee, the campaign committee of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) will be unconditionally awarded the funds pledged to this issue along with a letter requesting him to favorably consider sponsoring a bill to introduce an international treaty banning the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems.

If elected as a trustee, HRW will be awarded the funds pledged to this issue along with a letter requesting these funds be used to advocate for an international treaty to ban the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems.

Human Rights Watch (HRC) is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, HRC give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Its rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For more than 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world. In its November 2012 report, Losing Humanity: The Case against Killer Robots, HRC discussed the move toward full autonomy in weapons systems and analyzed the risks the technology could pose to civilians. It examines the legal problems posed by fully autonomous weapons and then elaborates on why banning these weapons is the best approach for dealing with this emerging means of war. HRC calls on countries to prohibit fully autonomous weapons through an internationally legally binding instrument and to adopt national laws and policies on the subject.
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Trustee Election - Opening Date
June 4, 2020
Trustee Election - Closing Date
June 10, 2020