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Thu Jan 26, 2012, 07:26 PM

New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who's accountable? (Skynet now a reality)

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-auto-drone-20120126,0,740306.story

The Navy is testing an autonomous plane that will land on an aircraft carrier. The prospect of heavily armed aircraft screaming through the skies without direct human control is unnerving to many.




The X-47B marks a paradigm shift in warfare, one that is likely to have far-reaching consequences. With the drone's ability to be flown autonomously by onboard computers, it could usher in an era when death and destruction can be dealt by machines operating semi-independently.

"Lethal actions should have a clear chain of accountability," said Noel Sharkey, a computer scientist and robotics expert. "This is difficult with a robot weapon. The robot cannot be held accountable. So is it the commander who used it? The politician who authorized it? The military's acquisition process? The manufacturer, for faulty equipment?"

The X-47B will not only land itself, but will also know what kind of weapons it is carrying, when and where it needs to refuel with an aerial tanker, and whether there's a nearby threat, said Carl Johnson, Northrop's X-47B program manager. "It will do its own math and decide what it should do next."

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Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who's accountable? (Skynet now a reality) (Original post)
underpants Jan 2012 OP
peacebird Jan 2012 #1
marasinghe Jan 2012 #3
xocet Jan 2012 #2
onethatcares Jan 2012 #4
slay Jan 2012 #7
Plucketeer Jan 2012 #17
slay Jan 2012 #5
zipplewrath Jan 2012 #6
stonecutter357 Jan 2012 #8
poverlay Jan 2012 #9
usrname Jan 2012 #10
JustABozoOnThisBus Jan 2012 #29
hack89 Jan 2012 #31
MADem Jan 2012 #11
Bill O-Rights Jan 2012 #12
tclambert Jan 2012 #15
Bill O-Rights Jan 2012 #16
underpants Jan 2012 #33
Robb Jan 2012 #13
Swede Atlanta Jan 2012 #14
underpants Jan 2012 #34
Matilda Jan 2012 #18
cstanleytech Jan 2012 #19
Neue Regel Jan 2012 #20
AdHocSolver Jan 2012 #21
Blackhatjack Jan 2012 #22
truedelphi Jan 2012 #23
dixiegrrrrl Jan 2012 #24
underpants Jan 2012 #35
caseymoz Jan 2012 #25
NBachers Jan 2012 #26
freshwest Jan 2012 #27
Tripod Jan 2012 #28
Guy Whitey Corngood Jan 2012 #30
Phoonzang Jan 2012 #32

Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 07:56 PM

1. I worked for NG, and I sure as hell wouldn't trust their code.....

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Response to peacebird (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:22 PM

3. to extrapolate from your post, a bit ~

i'll be waiting to see how these idiots explain it - when the drone calculates that the armaments on the carrier it's landing on, is a threat to itself; and decides to frag the ship.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:14 PM

2. Discussions will be futile....



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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:35 PM

4. we sure can build some high priced killing machines, but

when it comes to taking care of the citizens, we're always out of money.

our priorities are totally fucking skewed.

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Response to onethatcares (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:42 PM

7. So true

 

we should base our priorities on maslow's hierarchy of needs with the bottom 2 levels being provided for - for free to all citizens - by very high taxes on the rich, legalizing and heavily taxing recreational drugs, and ending the MIC as we know it. if only those in power gave a shit about us.. sigh...

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Response to onethatcares (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 11:04 PM

17. And NOBODY

 

asked ME or my sorry-assed congressman whether we wanted or needed this shit!

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:37 PM

5. Then a hacker takes control and - red hot death from above!

 

that is fucked up. if i were an engineer i would refuse to be involved in anything like this.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:38 PM

6. This question has been around since computers went commercial

Who's responsible for the action the code directs? With virtually any piece of software you buy, you take responsibility for the actions of the software when you sign most terms of agreement. At the end of the day, the person using the device will be "held responsible" for the actions of the drone. However, societies have given wide latitude to "collateral damage" in war. I don't suspect these drones will be treated any differently.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:55 PM

8. K&R...

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 08:56 PM

9. Wait 'til Anonymous gets their hands on these! n/t

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 09:30 PM

10. Hate to be on the aircraft carrier

 

when this robot thinks the ship is 5 meters lower than it is.

Kablooey! Right into the stern of the ship.

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Response to usrname (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 09:46 AM

29. I doubt if it would harm the carrier

This kind of miscalculation can (and does) happen with human pilots, and the pilot is usually the only casualty. Carriers are built to withstand this sort of mishap. Nothing a little grey paint can't fix.

If it's going to miscalculate, it might be a big one. Like not recognizing the carrier as "friendly", and launching it's missiles and bombs at it. That could get nasty.

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Response to usrname (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 11:09 AM

31. Automatic landing systems have been around for a long time - proven technology.

The Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS) is similar to the ICLS, in that it displays "needles" that indicate aircraft position in relation to glideslope and final bearing. An approach utilizing this system is said to be a "Mode II" approach. Additionally, some aircraft are capable of "coupling" their autopilots to the glideslope/azimuth signals received via data link from the ship, allowing for a "hands-off" approach.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_United_States_Navy_carrier_air_operations#Case_III

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 09:45 PM

11. It's still in the "Demonstration Project" stage.

I remember when the Navy was fiddling with what we now call drones, way back in the late seventies, out in Bainbridge, and the USAF was openly derisive. Not just slightly snarky--they were downright rude assholes. The pilots were the biggest jerks. I find it amusing now, frankly, since they jumped so hard on the drone bandwagon and tried to push everyone else off.

I remember seeing something a few years earlier called, back then, the Bell Model 222, on a drawing board, that later, much later, with a lot of tweaking and changes, became the (still not very beloved) Osprey.

Anyway, that was a LONG time ago, when all this stuff was coming off the drawing board. There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. There will be adjustments.

The bottom line is this--I don't think we're the only ones thinking along these lines--it's hubris to think we are.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:05 PM

12. "Welcome aboard the first computer controlled pilotless airline flight from NY to LA, nothing can

 

go wrong
go wrong
go wrong
go wrong
go wrong..."

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Response to Bill O-Rights (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:37 PM

15. "Touchdown at O'Hare airport in 5 seconds. . . . Recalcualting . . . Recalculating."

"Error 404. Page not found. The link you are trying to access, ohareairport.com, is not responding. Try another link or click the refresh button."

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Response to tclambert (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:50 PM

16. Hell, that's optimistic, I'm thinking Blue Screen of Death stuff here

 


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Response to tclambert (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 10:52 PM

33. brilliant

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:10 PM

14. Just wait till a terrorist organization or a 12-year old middle school student.....

 

take control of one of these and attack the homeland. This is ridiculous. I'm not opposed to a drone that can monitor and take action on things such as needing refueling but the actual act of refueling should be done under human direction. I can see a day when the refueling tanker needs to head back to base and the drone wants its fuel and it blows the tanker out of the air because the tanker won't stay to refuel.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 10:55 PM

34. OR the tankers become computer driven

okay someone has to pump the gas to start with....or do they?

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 11:20 PM

18. Remember Hal?

Who's to say there's no such thing as a rogue computer?

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 11:39 PM

19. So, no one to be held accountable? Sounds like business as usual with our

government really.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 11:46 PM

20. What could possibly go wrong?

 

And then, when something inevitably goes wrong, the next cliche they trot out will be, "Who could have foreseen...?"

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 11:50 PM

21. Really BAD idea.

Having worked as a programmer for many years, I can attest to the fact that there is a lot of really BAD software being used.

That doesn't even account for the bad software that was finally abandoned in frustration.

There have been instances of "collateral damage" occurring when drones were controlled by pilots on the ground.

This idea is total madness.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:02 AM

22. Did anyone consider that the robot plane might just decide to switch targets on its own?

Sounds like the equivalent of giving a child a gun, telling them to only shoot bad guys, and turning them loose to roam the neighborhood.

Overall a particularly bad idea.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:03 AM

23. This is breath takingly arrogant and also stupid.

back in the eighties, I was a graveyard shift receptionist for a deluxe elder care condo organization.

The management had installed top of the line "security" for each of the housing units. I spent 40 % of my time tracing back erroneous signals, falsely put out by blips in the programming and the circuitry.

God or Goddess help us if the drones' computers operate as poorly as those things did.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:56 AM

24. "Shall we play a game?"

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #24)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 10:58 PM

35. perfect

computer: X in the middle
Pilotless aircraft: BLAM!!!! Game over. I did the math and I have other things to BLAM!!

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:27 AM

25. This has got to be the worst idea, ever.


They've created a being weaponized to kill humans, essentially, a predator far more dangerous than any of the biological predators we've killed off in the biosphere for our own safety, and perhaps more intelligent. It has no interest in seeing human beings survive, nor morality about killing to restrain it.

The worldwide arms race now is going to push artificial intelligence further. This thing will evolve through human intermediaries more quickly than anything biological does.

The best thing that could happen is that this goes on a rampage and kills a bunch of our own people. The worst thing that could happen is in twenty or thirty years a bunch of more advanced drones can go on a rampage and kill about a billion people: Terminator Holocaust.

I'm hoping the current military cuts will kill off this thing. Our military, like our whole country, has lost its collective mind.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 02:17 AM

26. "You have illegally parked in a restricted space. You have twenty seconds to comply"

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 03:29 AM

27. All of the psychopaths giggling behind the scenes and proud of themselve are accountable.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 03:42 AM

28. I'm not sayiing I agree,,,

But when push comes to shove, Hasn't it been stupid ass humans that have created torture, war, and problems. It is our human nature, and isn't this human nature in a robotic way????, I don't see how it will ever end!

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 10:55 AM

30. You see people? Don't say I didn't warn you. We're a few steps away from cyborgs with Austrian

accents and bad one liners. But in all seriousness

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 11:42 AM

32. It's the future. You can't stop it.

Complain if you want, but this is the way things are going.

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