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Should We Ban Killer Robots?

Paperback By Deane Baker
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Product Description

Images of killer robots are the stuff of science fiction – but also, increasingly, of scientific fact on the battlefield. Should we be worried, or is this a normal development in the technology of war?

In this accessible volume ethicist Deane Baker cuts through the confusion over whether lethal autonomous weapons – so-called killer robots – should be banned. Setting aside unhelpful analogies taken from science fiction, Baker looks instead to our understanding of mercenaries (the metaphorical ‘dogs of war’) and weaponized animals (the literal dogs of war) to better understand the ethical challenges raised by the employment of lethal autonomous weapons (the robot dogs of war). These ethical challenges include questions of trust and reliability, control and accountability, motivation and dignity. Baker argues that, while each of these challenges is significant, they do not – even when considered together – justify a ban on this emerging class of weapon systems.

This book offers a clear point of entry into the debate over lethal autonomous weapons – for students, researchers, policy makers and interested general readers.

Product Details

Format: Paperback Language: English
Dimension: 21.6cm x 13.8cm x 1.09cm ISBN10: 1509548513
Weight: 142g ISBN13: 9781509548514
Publication Date: 04 Feb 2022 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Deane Baker is Associate Professor at UNSW Canberra and a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Kings College, London.

Product Reviews


‘In this deceptively small volume, Deane Baker brings his usual clarity and precision to the issue of the ethics of the use of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

’Martin L. Cook, United States Naval War College‘Engaging, stimulating and well researched. This is not a theoretical treatment for philosophers, but rather an informed and deeply practical exploration of the ethical arguments surrounding machines and killing.

’David Whetham, Director of the Centre for Military Ethics, Kings College, London


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