Bioethics Blogs

Does the U.S. Really “Lag” on Military Robots?

In response to our post “U.S. Policy on Robots in Warfare,” Mark Gubrud has passed along to us a comment:

It was odd that on the Monday morning after the Friday afternoon when my Bulletin article appeared, John Markoff of the New York Times posted an article whose message many took as contradictory to mine. Where I had characterized U.S. policy as “full speed ahead,” Markoff reported that the military “lags” in development of unmanned ground vehicles, which, as you know, go by the great acronym of UGVs.

There isn’t really any contradiction between the facts as reported by Markoff and the history and analysis I gave, as I explained on my personal blog, but anybody who read the two casually, or only looked at the headlines, could be forgiven for thinking that Markoff had rebutted me, perhaps upholding the myth that there is some kind of a moratorium in effect.

In that blog post he mentions, Gubrud expands on the strangeness of the NYT article, or at least its headline. The headline in both the print and the online edition of Markoff’s article says that

the U.S. military “lags” in its pursuit of robotic ground vehicles. Lags… behind whom? China? North Korea? No, Markoff warns that the Pentagon is falling behind another aspiring superpower: Google.

Well worth reading the whole thing.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.