The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

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theory
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The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by theory »

Hi!

I am new on this forum and I hope that I am welcome here.

--

I just read the following comment on an article about AI drones:
Very well, let's talk about how drones are being used "in the real world" in the current wars. The UN has not authorized US military action anywhere. The Congress has not declared war. They are not wars of self-defense. So the wars against al Qaeda, ISIS, and whoever else the president thinks is an enemy are illegal. Therefore, any killings of anybody by US drones in the Middle East or anywhere else are murders. Debates about whether drones are morally preferable to bombings are irrelevant in the current circumstances (sure, they are morally preferable to using nuclear weapons or carpet bombing; so what?). The President of the United States, therefore, has committed the ultimate international crime, aggression, the same crime for which Nazis were convicted. Unless you think the President is above the law, as Nixon decreed, you cannot avoid the conclusion that Barack Obama, the President of Drone Warfare, is a serial killer.
Of course, this is unthinkable and unsayable in polite company and in the mainstream media. As philosophers, however, we can think it, we can say it, and we are right.

https://www.philosophytalk.org/blog/eth ... ne-warfare (The Ethics of Drone Warfare)
(2021) 'Murderbot' Is Not Your Typical AI
https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2021/05 ... rtha-wells

(2021) The Pentagon Inches Toward Letting AI Control Weapons
Lethal autonomous weapons cheap enough that every terrorist can afford them are not in America's national security interest,” says Max Tegmark, a professor at MIT and cofounder of the Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit that opposes autonomous weapons.

Tegmark says AI weapons should be “stigmatized and banned like biological weapons.” The NSCAI report's opposition a global ban is a strategic mistake, he says: “I think we'll one day regret it even more than we regret having armed the Taliban.
https://www.wired.com/story/pentagon-in ... l-weapons/

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I once read an article on Scientific American in which scientists argued that many terrorists are driven by factors such as the necessity to fight for water, and that instead of war, an alternative option could be to provide solutions to countries, to create friendships.

The potential validity of this idea is visible in recent articles on water crisis:

(2020) Water Crisis, A Bigger Threat Than Terrorism
https://dailytimes.com.pk/666539/water- ... terrorism/

(2019) Water Wars: How Scarcity Exacerbates Conflict
“Providing these needs will have a great effect on people, and will make them sympathize with us and feel that their fate is tied to ours.”
https://theowp.org/water-wars-how-scarc ... -conflict/

This may indicate that there are alternatives to warfare.

Another comment on PhilosophyTalk.org:
There is no greater example of mental weakness than the idea that military technology and might is the solution to war. It is this very weakness that fuels our wars. Violence begets violence and nothing more.
As it appears, innocent people including children are being targeted.

Killing children to retaliate

As for the killing of “enemy” children, President Obama justified the murder of 16-year-old American Abdulrahman al-Awlaki in Yemen in October 2011, two weeks after the assassination of his father, the Yemeni-American preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. In one of Donald Trump’s first acts as president, he authorized a U.S. special operations attack that killed Abdulrahman’s 8-year old sister Nawar and other family members in January 2017 – after Trump, on the campaign trail, had vowed to kill the families of suspected terrorists.

Retaliation, and especially by means of killing children, would seem like an emotional act rather than a reasonable act. Would it be possible that such an act would serve to prevent terrorism? Are relatives of the killed children less motivated to perform terrorism?

Motive for terrorism: self-defense (violence begets violence)

Researchers have interviewed people who have joined armed resistance groups in countries across the world to ask them about what drove them to join an armed group and take part in guerrilla warfare or terrorism. In 2015, the Center for Civilians in Conflict published the results of interviews with 250 people who joined armed groups in Bosnia, Somalia, Gaza and Libya in a report titled, The People’s Perspective: Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict. One of its main findings was that, “The most common motivation for involvement, described by interviewees in all four case studies, was the protection of self or family.”

If most of the people fighting U.S. forces and their allies across the world, from Niger to Ukraine to the Philippines, are just trying to defend themselves and their families against our “counterterrorism” operations, that turns the whole basis of the U.S. “war on terror” on its head. The most effective way to reduce violence and terrorism would obviously be to stop putting them in such an intolerable position in the first place.

Across the world, it is obvious, and now well-documented, that U.S. aggression and militarism are causing the very problems they claim to be trying to solve.


(2017) America’s Renegade Warfare Killing Civilians, Violating Law
https://popularresistance.org/americas- ... ating-law/

What would happen when AI would be used to perform killing, for an idea, to retaliate or for ethnic cleansing?

As it appears, ethnic cleansing is a practice for which AI drones could potentially be used.

U.S. and allied forces in Iraq have killed at least 10-15 percent of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and displaced about half of them. Sunni Arabs have been relentlessly targeted for detention, torture and summary execution since 2004. This ethnic cleansing campaign has continued under the U.S-backed Shiite government and has kept driving Sunni Arab Iraqis into armed resistance groups, creating pretexts for endless violence against them.

--

What is your opinion on AI warfare?
Last edited by theory on Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

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According to philosopher Bertrand Russell ethical philosophy offers little more than self-serving argument to justify violence, which is essentially war between people. He developed a disgust of all ethical claims.

(2020) The politics of logic - Philosophy at war: nationalism and logical analysis
https://aeon.co/essays/philosophy-at-wa ... l-analysis
Russell told one colleague that the talk (On Scientific Method in Philosophy, Oxford) ‘was partly inspired by disgust at the universal outburst of “righteousness” in all nations since the war began. It seems the essence of virtue is persecution, and it has given me a disgust of all ethical notions.
...
In private, Russell referred to the essay as ‘Philosophers and Pigs’.
...
Russell’s antiwar protest was so extensive that it would cost him both his job and, for a time, his personal freedom. His theoretical antidote to the irrational, sectarian vitriol between European nations was to try to show how logic could function as an international language that could be used impartially and dispassionately to adjudicate disputes. His theoretical antidote was, in other words, analytic philosophy.

‘The truth, whatever it may be, is the same in England, France, and Germany … it is in its essence neutral’
I noticed that several philosophers hold the view that humans are naturally inclined to a state of war. For example, philosopher William James mentioned the following in his work on pacifism (‘Remarks at the Peace Banquet’ and ‘The Moral Equivalent of War’):
The plain truth is that people want war. They want it anyhow; for itself; and apart from each and every possible consequence. It is the final bouquet of life’s fireworks. The born soldiers want it hot and actual. The non-combatants want it in the background, and always as an open possibility, to feed imagination on and keep excitement going.
One wonders, why would otherwise be possible, as can be seen in the moral theory/vision developed by many of the philosophers who held such a view (including William James, one of the founders of pacifism)? Why would one intend to 'strive against nature' and formulate a moral theory that prevents war?

From my perspective, war isn't a natural state for which one is ought to settle as if it is a natural tendency or inclination. It may be a lack of intelligence and fear (darkness) that makes one incline to such a state of violence. Of course there is politics and ideology, and the strive to overcome others. But as Bertrand Russel has shown, there is a 'truth' that is essentially neutral for anyone.

A Dutch saying is "What you don't know, doesn't bother you". It means that when you don't know something, you cannot consider it reasonably. It implies that there is potential for darkness and fear by 'not knowing' and not being able to reason.

Philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said the following about the enhancement of human ethical practice in general:

"Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized."

It appears that he was right. Millennials (Gen Y) have been driving a global shift away from eating animals, to serve ethical considerations, and Gen Z is accelerating that shift to veganism.

(2018) Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat
A global reduction in meat consumption between 2016 and 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change. (National Academy of Sciences).
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpel ... from-meat/

The origin of the violence or 'state of war' against animals appeared to have been a lack of (potential for) reason (ethical consideration) and not a 'natural tendency'.

It may be a sign of higher intelligence when the human shows potential for ethical consideration on behalf of, or empathy for, animals. As such, it can be demanded on behalf of human dignity. A lack of care or ethical consideration can become unjust when the potential for it (in an individual) can be made evident.

An example may be found in the emergence of the field animal ethics of philosophy, and its effects on how humans in general (culturally) perceive and interact with animals.

Animal minds have long been considered a "black box" by science. It wasn't given attention and thus people in general didn't know anything about it and cannot understand a problem with treating animals in a specific way (i.e. without respect).

(2019) Animal Ethics: an important emerging topic for society
Another reason for scientists to engage with the philosophy of animal ethics is that it might help them confront topics that have been traditionally off-limits: in particular, the notion of animal minds. While minds are difficult enough to talk about in humans, this difficulty is exacerbated when it comes to non-human animals.

... animal minds and consciousness have been consigned to a “black box”, an entity too complex or confusing to delve into, but whose inputs and outputs become the object of study.
https://cosmosmagazine.com/society/anim ... and-ethics

Animal ethics evolves on the basis of advancements in intelligence and empathy. It could be an argument that humans should choose wisely when they have the capacity to do so. A greater capacity in intelligence and empathy for animals comes with new responsibilities, and as such, the human being naturally evolves culturally into a state of less violence towards animals.

A lack of potential for ethical consideration (reason) appears to be the origin of the supposed inclination to a 'state of war', and ethically, there can be no justification for acts that originate from a lack of reason. One can hide behind error, but error should not be the intended result.

The potential for ethical consideration (reason) in an individual can become a requirement or responsibility. As such, the human has a potential to enhance itself ethically and to overcome darkness before it was ever present, with intelligence (reason).

There is certainly a fight or war in the sense of 'a striving to achieve results by any means and as fast as possible', but the goal should be guided by reason (intelligence) for it to serve life optimally. For example, when an asteroid is on a path towards earth, perhaps all people on earth will gladly work together to prevent the impact. Perhaps there are even bigger goals that require all people to have started yesterday, and from that perspective, each small step in the right direction matters!
Last edited by theory on Wed May 12, 2021 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by theory »

Another quote from PhilosophyTalk.org:

A fully mechanized war? The prospect is certainly chilling, especially as adversaries develop the same technology. But maybe this is a reason to question the future of war rather than the current conduct of it. For reasons that have nothing to do with the technology of warfare, war is becoming obsolete. Not only are we too interdependent, but, because of communications, not war, technology we simply know each other too well. It's like the farm animal that has been given a name, you cannot then kill it for food. This is not a technological advancement, it's a human one.

Another quote:

The strongest force is the force that walks the other Way.
To peace,


Being prepared for anything is important when it concerns security as a flaw cannot be permitted. From that perspective, high priority advancement in war technologies may be important.

With modern technologies, preparedness may also be possible with scenario planning, war games, simulation and imagination. When earth works together on the subject 'security' (earth-space security), advancement may go much faster while the weapons would not be used on people.

Project Evergreen and Long View of the U.S. Coast Guard may be an example.

Learning from the future
Humans tend to conceive of time as linear and unidirectional, as moving from past to present to future, with each time frame discrete. We remember yesterday; we experience today; we anticipate tomorrow. But the best scenario planning embraces a decidedly nonlinear conception of time. That’s what Long View and Evergreen did: They took stock of trends in the present, jumped many years into the future, described plausible worlds created by those drivers, worked backward to develop stories about how those worlds had come to pass, and then worked forward again to develop robust strategies.
https://hbr.org/2020/07/learning-from-the-future

https://www.uscg.mil/Portals/0/Strategy ... 20Book.pdf
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by FlashDangerpants »

theory wrote: Thu May 27, 2021 5:21 pm Learning from the future
Humans tend to conceive of time as linear and unidirectional, as moving from past to present to future, with each time frame discrete. We remember yesterday; we experience today; we anticipate tomorrow. But the best scenario planning embraces a decidedly nonlinear conception of time. That’s what Long View and Evergreen did: They took stock of trends in the present, jumped many years into the future, described plausible worlds created by those drivers, worked backward to develop stories about how those worlds had come to pass, and then worked forward again to develop robust strategies.
https://hbr.org/2020/07/learning-from-the-future
Is taking a straight line then pretending it's a slightly squiggly really all that is required to derive "non linearity"?
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by attofishpi »

Let's get a little closer to home, empathy of a human police officer is one thing, but try coming up as a human protest where robots/androids are on the 'government ' or mega rich -- Corp-- side .......

......


......

......as usual we are being 'LAZY' in such legislature......wait till it happens right !?
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by Advocate »

The only problem with restricting AI is that who should be most restricted will always still have the best version of it, governments and corporations.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

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Iran is facing an extreme water crisis and scientists predict that the situation could escalate.

Iran's groundwater depletion is reaching crisis levels, warn researchers
The researchers write that mismanagement by the country's authorities is exacerbating existing strains on the semi-arid country's aquifers by an inefficient agriculture industry. Without urgent action, they note, the country faces multiple national crises.
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-iran-grou ... risis.html

I once hiked with someone who hiked in Iran and he mentioned that the people in Iran are very friendly and welcoming.

Iranian People: Are They Really As Nice As Travellers Say?
https://www.goatsontheroad.com/iranian- ... eople-say/

iran.jpeg
iran.jpeg (44.12 KiB) Viewed 734 times
Iran is one of the most beautiful countries globally with 140 unique wetlands with an area of more than 3 million hectares. Out of 42 types of wetlands known in the world, Iran has 41 types. Still, this microclimate and spectacular natural range is being damaged due to recklessness and is the victim of [the regime’s] economic interests,”."

Iran's water problem appears to be caused in part by foreign politics.

Iran’s ability to deal with the water crisis is linked to its foreign policy challenges. The country’s deteriorating water crisis is not just the result of persistent droughts in recent years,”.

(2021) Water wars on the horizon in Iran
https://asiatimes.com/2021/05/water-war ... n-in-iran/

Extreme water scarcity and wide disparities in public water supplies are potent ingredients for conflict. Jordan's water situation—long deemed a crisis—is now on the brink of "boiling over" into instability, said lead study author Jim Yoon, a water security and resilience scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
https://phys.org/news/2021-03-reveals-d ... ordan.html

There are new technologies that can extract water from air without energy-costs and some of them are usable in the desert.

(2021) This Dual-Use Tech Extracts Water from Air
https://i-hls.com/archives/108886

(2021) New material could harvest water all day long
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-material-harvest-day.html

(2018) Drinking water sucked from the dusty desert air
https://phys.org/news/2018-11-dusty-air.html

The war in Iraq has cost $1.1 trillion USD.

With an investment of $100 billion USD it may be possible to provide water solutions that can prevent wars.
Last edited by theory on Tue Jun 08, 2021 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by RCSaunders »

Are you people all nuts?

Talking about the, "ethics," of any kind of warfare is like talking about the, "ethics," of rape, or the, "ethics," of terrorism. Unless you're a Muslim and see virtue in all those things, it's all wrong, ethically or otherwise.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by Impenitent »

RCSaunders wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:11 pm Are you people all nuts?

Talking about the, "ethics," of any kind of warfare is like talking about the, "ethics," of rape, or the, "ethics," of terrorism. Unless you're a Muslim and see virtue in all those things, it's all wrong, ethically or otherwise.
from a certain point of view...

-Imp
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by RCSaunders »

Impenitent wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:40 pm
RCSaunders wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:11 pm Are you people all nuts?

Talking about the, "ethics," of any kind of warfare is like talking about the, "ethics," of rape, or the, "ethics," of terrorism. Unless you're a Muslim and see virtue in all those things, it's all wrong, ethically or otherwise.
from a certain point of view...

-Imp
Probably not so much from the point of those in the Middle East, North and West Africa, Indonesia, and much of Southeast Asia.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by theory »

FlashDangerpants wrote: Fri May 28, 2021 12:50 pm Is taking a straight line then pretending it's a slightly squiggly really all that is required to derive "non linearity"?
When one considers imagination to be at the root of envisioning 'plausible worlds' based on foreseeable drivers, one can at least say that one has a basis for achieving efficiency with regard the ability to secure preparedness.

By removing the 'go with the flow' factor and hurdling into wars as a means to discover pain points so that humanity becomes stronger, humanity would have the opportunity to get in front of it using imagination and intelligence, and because of the scalable nature of scenario planing (simply by putting more people to work and by finding methods for efficiency in 'resilience purposed imagination'), it can achieve progress much faster, with possibly greater resilience (strength in the face of an unforeseeable future) as a result.

With scenario planning, humane factors will logically become primary drivers which may provide advantages in strategies for diverse scenario's and therewith improve humanity's chance of survival. By tapping the perspective of a diverse range of people around the world, imagination potential on behalf of humanity can become stronger, which creates a shared purpose by which war becomes obsolete.

What lays beyond security? Humanity's prosperity has many facets. Some may concern interests that span thousands of years. Purposeful and meaningful work is what many people want to dedicate their life to, and as such, it seems that scenario planning can contribute great value for humanity. It can put billions of people to work almost indefinitely, with ever increasing value for humanity's future.

As the saying goes, a donkey never hits the same stone twice. Perhaps scenario planning enables humans to never hit a stone in the first place, and to go beyond that with regard securing progress and prosperity of humanity into the far future.

Using VR and internet technology, scenario planning may tap the potential of billions of people around the world.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

Post by FlashDangerpants »

theory wrote: Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:40 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote: Fri May 28, 2021 12:50 pm Is taking a straight line then pretending it's a slightly squiggly really all that is required to derive "non linearity"?
When one considers imagination to be at the root of envisioning 'plausible worlds' based on foreseeable drivers, one can at least say that one has a basis for achieving efficiency with regard the ability to secure preparedness.

By removing the 'go with the flow' factor and hurdling into wars as a means to discover pain points so that humanity becomes stronger, humanity would have the opportunity to get in front of it using imagination and intelligence, and because of the scalable nature of scenario planing (simply by putting more people to work and by finding methods for efficiency in 'resilience purposed imagination'), it can achieve progress much faster, with possibly greater resilience (strength in the face of an unforeseeable future) as a result.

With scenario planning, humane factors will logically become primary drivers which may provide advantages in strategies for diverse scenario's and therewith improve humanity's chance of survival. By tapping the perspective of a diverse range of people around the world, imagination potential on behalf of humanity can become stronger, which creates a shared purpose by which war becomes obsolete.

What lays beyond security? Humanity's prosperity has many facets. Some may concern interests that span thousands of years. Purposeful and meaningful work is what many people want to dedicate their life to, and as such, it seems that scenario planning can contribute great value for humanity. It can put billions of people to work almost indefinitely, with ever increasing value for humanity's future.

As the saying goes, a donkey never hits the same stone twice. Perhaps scenario planning enables humans to never hit a stone in the first place, and to go beyond that with regard securing progress and prosperity of humanity into the far future.

Using VR and internet technology, scenario planning may tap the potential of billions of people around the world.
Why did you bother quoting me? None of that had anything to do with me or what I wrote.
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Re: The Ethics of AI Drone Warfare

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FlashDangerpants wrote: Sun Sep 05, 2021 11:38 pm
theory wrote: Thu May 27, 2021 5:21 pm Learning from the future
Humans tend to conceive of time as linear and unidirectional, as moving from past to present to future, with each time frame discrete. We remember yesterday; we experience today; we anticipate tomorrow. But the best scenario planning embraces a decidedly nonlinear conception of time. That’s what Long View and Evergreen did: They took stock of trends in the present, jumped many years into the future, described plausible worlds created by those drivers, worked backward to develop stories about how those worlds had come to pass, and then worked forward again to develop robust strategies.
https://hbr.org/2020/07/learning-from-the-future
Why did you bother quoting me? None of that had anything to do with me or what I wrote.
My contribution was intended to indicate that dedication to 'put imagination to use' on behalf of security in the face of an unknown future may enable the human to achieve non linearity with regard how it 'plans' itself through time.

The primary quality that it would provide is resilience, which can be perceived as strength in the face of an unknown future.

With regard its potential to abolish war. It can create a shared purpose in which diversity of perspectives is of high value, and thus it could create a sort of 'all hands on deck' situation that can upscale almost indefinitely, with value for humanity's long term prosperity as a result.

It also creates a potential for philosophy. What lays beyond security? That question would be for philosophy to solve.
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