A CoLA-Verse Discussion Series: "Ethical Perspectives on Autonomous Robots as Combatants"

Presented by the College of Liberal Arts

“Ethical Perspectives on Autonomous Robots as Combatants”

Led by Dr. Sam Sambasivam, Computer Science Data Analytics, College of Liberal Arts, Woodbury University

On Thursday, October 29th, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

Computers are already approving financial transactions, controlling electrical supplies, and driving trains. Robot automobiles have been approved for use in California, and freeway lanes have already been designated for them.  Soon, service robots will be taking care of the elderly in their homes, and military robots will have their own targeting and firing protocols. It is argued that even if full moral agency for machines is a long way off, it is already necessary to start building-in a kind of functional morality in which artificial moral agents have some basic ethical sensitivity. The quest to build machines that are capable of telling right from wrong has begun. Beyond the immediate challenge of programming an ethics into artificial intelligence, there are larger policy questions that loom.  Should an international convention be convened to wrestle with the many applications of techno-ethics, with the ultimate goal of establishing international signatory conventions, particularly for military uses of artificial intelligence and robotics?  How will the uses of artificial intelligence be overseen internationally in order to protect universal human rights?


  • Ethical Views on Lethality and Autonomous Robot Combatants. Is there any kind of robots that shouldn’t be created? Or that you wouldn’t want to see made? Why?
  • If, in the future, machines have the ability to reason, be self-aware, and have feelings, then what makes a human being a human being and a robot a robot?
  • If you could have a robot that would do any task you like, a companion to do all the work you prefer not to, would you? And if so, how do you think this might affect you as a person?
  • Most people view automation and the development of new technologies like robots as inevitable. But many workers who lose their jobs consider this business practice unfair. Do you think the development of new technologies, and their implementation, is unavoidable? What, if anything, should we as a society do for those people who lose their jobs?


Date: Thursday, October 29th, at 4:45 pm (please log in early to this event, so we can start on time at 5:00 pm)
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/1491565063
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