Military should use killer robots in war, defence ministry report claims

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Army robot


Killer robots should be rolled out alongside front line soldiers, according to a bombshell report from France’s defence ministry report.

The French Defence Ethics Committee has argued in favour of the morality of autonomous weapons which are expected to transform warfare.

The report comes after years of campaigning by aid groups who question how ethical it is for an army to bolster its ranks with potentially lethal artificial intelligence systems.

France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly had the military and civilian member committee carry out one of the West’s most elaborate moral cases for autonomous weapons, The Times reports.

According to the report, so-called killer robots should be authorised for deployment in certain strict conditions but weapon “programmed to be able to change their rules of operation”, should be banned.



The French army is testing robots in combat scenarios

Machines must instead operate only “partially autonomous” killing systems to identify and engage with targets, but which, crucially, the human controllers can stop at any time.

The French armed forces released images last month of Spot the robot dog, as well as other futuristic machines, being used in exercises at the Saint-Cyr military college.

Spot manufacturers, US-based Boston Dynamics said it was unaware of the French military’s plans for the 31kg robo-dog, adding: “We do not want any customer using the robot to harm people.”



Army robot
One of the machines being trialled in France

Just like France, America and Britain are working on autonomous weapons as the Chinese and Russians and even terrorist groups are racing to have them ready for the battlefield, the Times report claims.

The French Defence Ethics Committee’s report said current missiles firing at five times the speed of sound, makes automated weaponry essential to combat them.

British forces used an early version of autonomy in Libya in 2011 “fire-and-forget” missiles capable of choosing their own targets to destroy.



Robot dog
Saint-Cyr military college has been training with robots

Critics however point towards a potentially blurred line between partial and fully autonomous weapons.

Last week’s new £6.8 billion European Union fund for research in military technology, was led by France.

Thierry Breton, the French commissioner for the internal market, said: “We must increasingly be able to take our security into our own hands.”





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