Entries Tagged "drones"

Page 7 of 7

A Robotic Bill of Rights

Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are a security device, protecting humans from robots:

1) A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3) A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

In an interesting blog post, Greg London wonders if we also need explicit limitations on those laws: a Robotic Bill of Rights. Here are his suggestions:

First amendment: A robot will act as an agent representing its owner’s best interests.

Second amendment: A robot will not hide the execution of any order from its owner.

Third amendment: A robot will not perform any order that would be against its owner’s standing orders.

Fourth amendment: The robot’s standing orders can only be overridden by the robot’s owner.

Fifth amendment: A robot’s execution of any of its orders can be halted by the robot’s owner.

Sixth amendment: Any standing orders in a robot can be overridden by the robot’s owner.

Seventh amendment: A robot will not perform any order issued by anyone other than its owner without explicitely informing its owner of the order, the effects the order would have, and who issued the order, and then getting the owner’s permission to execute the order.

I haven’t thought enough about this to know if these seven amendments are both necessary and sufficient, but it’s a fascinating topic of discussion.

Posted on May 26, 2006 at 12:17 PMView Comments

The Ultimate Terrorist Threat: Flying Robot Drones

This one really pegs the movie-plot threat hype-meter:

The technology for remote-controlled light aircraft is now highly advanced, widely available—and, experts say, virtually unstoppable.

Models with a wingspan of five metres (16 feet), capable of carrying up to 50 kilograms (110 pounds), remain undetectable by radar.

And thanks to satellite positioning systems, they can now be programmed to hit targets some distance away with just a few metres (yards) short of pinpoint accuracy.

Security services the world over have been considering the problem for several years, but no one has yet come up with a solution.


Armed militant groups have already tried to use unmanned aircraft, according to a number of studies by institutions including the Center for Nonproliferation studies in Monterey, California, and the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies in Moscow.

In August 2002, for example, the Colombian military reported finding nine small remote-controlled planes at a base it had taken from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

On April 11, 2005 the Lebanese Shiite militia group, Hezbollah, flew a pilotless drone over Israeli territory, on what it called a “surveillance” mission. The Israeli military confirmed this and responded by flying warplanes over southern Lebanon.

Remote-control planes are not hard to get hold of, according to Jean-Christian Delessert, who runs a specialist model airplane shop near Geneva.

“Putting together a large-scale model is not difficult—all you need is a few materials and a decent electronics technician,” says Delessert.

In his view, “if terrorists get hold of that, it will be impossible to do anything about it. We did some tests with a friend who works at a military radar base: they never detected us… if the radar picks anything up, it thinks it is a flock of birds and automatically wipes it.”

Posted on May 9, 2006 at 7:36 AMView Comments

1 5 6 7

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.