Proponents and opponents of furthering AWS development are often actually debating different points. They may, in other words, each be voicing legitimate issues for discussion but framing them imprecisely—or worse, inaccurately—preventing the effective comparison of positions and achievement of conceptual clarity, much less consensus, on the legal issues.
The United States government needs to develop and employ lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) on the battlefield. There are two main arguments that this paper will explore: first, robots are potentially more proficient than humans on the battlefield and second, the United States needs to employ LAWS because other countries already are and the U.S. needs to set the international example.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is making significant strides to develop and deploy unmanned vehicles in a variety of environments. Specifically, the Secretary of the Navy is sponsoring a new program, Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research ("CRUSER"), at the Naval Postgraduate School to enhance the ability to address unmanned vehicle research in a systematic manner.
Humanity's quest to find innovative ways to deal with difficult, monotonous and dangerous activities has been an ever evolving and unending endeavor. The current proliferation of robotic technology is just the next step in this evolutionary sequence.
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