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Every six months or so you will read something in the paper about a kooky new DARPA project where military scientists have outfitted wasps with nuclear warheads, or invented some kind of mind-reading goo or Cloak of Invisibility or whatever. Your semi-annual installment of freaky War Science News has researchers debating the utility of autonomous robots that could maybe avoid torturing people and bombing cemeteries.


Yes, this seems like it could be a relatively benign development! You see, there are these robots, which are amoral, as all robots are. But if they can be programmed to have "rules," or "morals" (that is the quaint human term), these "morals" combined with a lack of fear or other unpleasant emotions could make these robots very good at war-type things. For example, they would be able to kill "bad guys" who they are supposed to kill, without killing any "good guys" just because they are feeling freaked out and trigger happy.

Unless! Unless the programming goes kablooey and these war-drones just murder everyone. Fortunately, there is a "kill switch": once they experience anal sex, they can feel love.

All of this is pretty theoretical for the time being, because nobody knows how to program these imaginary robots, let alone fuck them.

A Soldier, Taking Orders From Its Ethical Judgment Center [New York Times]

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