General

While we here at IIA are pro technology — broadband especially — we harbor unease about robots. Specifically, robots armed with weapons. Thankfully, as Signe Brewster of GigaOm reports, we’re not alone:

Of the 1,000 people surveyed by University of Massachusetts-Amherst researchers, 55 percent said they oppose autonomous weapons, with most answering “strongly opposed.” Almost 20 percent answered “not sure.” Answers were consistent across political affiliations, ages, genders, regions, education and income levels, but not service status: 73 percent of active military personnel responded with disapproval. Language such as “stopping killer robots” and “banning fully autonomous weapons” garnered similar responses.

“People are scared by the idea of removing humans from the loop, not simply scared of the label,” survey head Charli Carpenter said in a release. Carpenter is an associate professor of political science who studies ethical debate stirred by autonomous weapons.