Robots That Kill

Militaries around the world are designing artificial intelligence–powered weapons that could one day make their own decisions about who to target. The technology could change the scope of warfare, but at what cost?

Play Button Pause Button
0:00 0:00
x
Host
  • Gabrielle Sierra
    Director, Podcasting
Credits

Asher Ross - Supervising Producer

Markus Zakaria - Audio Producer and Sound Designer

Rafaela Siewert - Associate Podcast Producer

Episode Guests
  • Paul Scharre
    Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program, Center for a New American Security
  • Toby Walsh
    Professor of Artificial Intelligence at The University of New South Wales
  • Mary Wareham
    Advocacy Director, Arms Division at Human Rights Watch

Show Notes

Lethal autonomous weapons, sometimes called killer robots, are military-grade weapons controlled by artificial intelligence. Some see these devices as an opportunity, while others consider their development to be a major threat. This episode lays out the risks they pose and the controversy around them.

 

From CFR

 

Laying Down the LAWS: Strategizing Autonomous Weapons Governance,” Taylor Sullivan

 

The Pentagon Plans for Autonomous Systems,” Micah Zenko

 

Read More

 

Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill,” Atlantic

 

The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own,” New York Times

 

China and the U.S. Are Fighting a Major Battle Over Killer Robots and the Future of AI,” TIME

 

UK, US and Russia among those opposing killer robot ban,” Guardian 

 

Tech leaders: Killer robots would be ‘dangerously destabilizing’ force in the world,” Washington Post

 

Death by algorithm: the age of killer robots is closer than you think,” Vox

 

Watch or Listen

 

The Dawn of Killer Robots,” Motherboard

Media

In a wide-ranging conversation, Foreign Affairs Editor Dan Kurtz-Phelan joins Why It Matters to discuss nonpartisan publishing in a polarized political climate, the state of press freedom around the world, and the future of journalism.

Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Thirty years ago, Rwanda’s government began a campaign to eradicate the country’s largest minority group. In just one hundred days in 1994, roving militias killed around eight hundred thousand people. Would-be killers were incited to violence by the radio, which encouraged extremists to take to the streets with machetes. The United Nations stood by amid the bloodshed, and many foreign governments, including the United States, declined to intervene before it was too late. What got in the way of humanitarian intervention? And as violent conflict now rages at a clip unseen since then, can the international community learn from the mistakes of its past?

Economics

Many Americans are losing faith in the benefits of internationalism. But whether it’s wars in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine, worsening extreme weather as a result of climate change, or the trade-offs of globalization, events abroad are increasingly having a local impact. At the same time, more state and local officials in the United States are becoming involved in global affairs, conducting their own form of diplomacy on international issues and driving investment home. What role should the United States play in the world economy? And how do states and cities fit in?

Top Stories on CFR

 

Iran

Ebrahim Raisi was more loyal to hard-line Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei than previous presidents, and whoever succeeds him is likely to be just as conservative.  

United States

A proposed Japanese takeover of U.S. Steel is facing domestic political pushback that could challenge Biden administration foreign policy aims.