Killer robots; to be or not to be?

Killer robots; to be or not to be?

Killer robots; to be or not to be?  

‘Killer robots will be debated during an informal meeting of experts at the United Nations in Geneva. Two robotics experts, Prof Ronald Arkin and Prof Noel Sharkey, will debate the efficacy and necessity of killer robots. The meeting will be held during the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). A report on the discussion will be presented to the CCW meeting in November. This will be the first time that the issue of killer robots, or lethal autonomous weapons systems, will be addressed within the CCW.’ BBC News

If you are wondering if this is a joke, well, this is not. Killer robots do not currently exist in their finished forms, but will very soon come to be as we move forward with technology. Should we allow the use of killer robots? This is a polemic that we should all be part of. As we know from countless examples, many new technologies first sprung for military use before spreading out into the commercial space. Today, we are talking about killer robots as part of military armies – which sounds completely terrifying by the way – but tomorrow, if allowed to exist in the first place, these autonomous robots will soon take space in our everyday lives. With United States’ President Obama’s recent meeting of ASIMO, a walking and speaking humanoid robot ‘living’ in Japan, it seems that robot-talk is taking much of the spotlight in current news, and this seems to make the idea of robots much more of a reality than ever before. What does this mean for business, then, if we dare look a few decades into the future?

No doubt, the advent of robotics is bound to revolutionize many industries as we know them today. Probably more than revolutionizing those, robots may reshape them entirely, giving a new face to transport, retail, health, politics, entertainment and much more. Gaining competitive advantage in a world where robots will thrive will be a very challenging task to keep in mind for entrepreneurs operating in virtually any industry. To what extent do we want to make use of robots? Do we want to introduce them in everyday life? How to regulate their use in business? How will our companies look like?

Many questions surround the issue of robots and their possible arrival into the realm of business; issues part of a debate that needs to start right now.

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