With the increasing number and autonomy of robots in military conflicts these days, I think its time for Christians to start asking the ethical war questions:
- What, for instance, are the implications for Just War doctrine?
- Can a robot make a moral decision? Can it judge proportionality?
- If not, how can increasing autonomy be ethically justified?
And then there are the nuts and bolts questions:
- Can a robot kill humans in self defence or must a human life be at risk?
- Can a robot exercise autonomy where collateral damage risks exist?
I hear echoes of Asimov.
Just War doctrine rests on a presumption that combatants are human. With the robotisation of war now upon us, that presumption must now be abandoned. So what now? A new ethical minefield is opening up.