The Game of Drones: Drones, Laws and Ethics
Here are some reflections from a work by Colonel (PhD) Gjert Lage Dyndal, Lieutenant Colonel (PhD) Tor Arne Berntsen and Assistant Professor Sigrid Redse-Johansen, although the work is oriented to the development of military drones, we consider that these kinds of reflections and debates are necessary since these technologies are destined to occupy a central place in the societies in a short time.
The delegation of life or death decisions to non-human agents is a recurring concern of those who oppose autonomous weapon systems, since allowing a machine to "decide" to kill a human being undermines the very value of human life. From this perspective, human life is of such significant value that it is inappropriate for a machine to proceed with its termination; in other words it is intrinsically immoral the development and use of autonomous drones.
Even if these autonomous systems were capable of discriminating between targets and non-targets, there is also the reasonable doubt as to whether such systems are capable of assessing whether or not an attack is proportional and whether the attack would cause unnecessary suffering. However, beyond the uncertainty about the technological capabilities that autonomous drones will possess in the future to make such distinctions, it can also be argued that if these weapons systems can not operate within certain parameters they are unlikely to be deployed, at least In operational environments where the risk of causing excessive harm to civilians is high.
From the opposite perspective it is argued that the use of autonomous drones is not only acceptable from a moral perspective, but even morally preferable to human soldiers. Self-contained drones could process more incoming sensory information th