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Genius Weapons: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Weaponry, and the Future of Warfare (2018)

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A technology expert describes the ever-increasing role of artificial intelligence in weapons development, the ethical dilemmas these weapons pose, and the potential threat to humanity.

Artificial intelligence is playing an ever-increasing role in military weapon systems. Going beyond the bomb-carrying drones used in the Afghan war, the Pentagon is now in a race with China and Russia to develop "lethal autonomous weapon systems" (LAWS). In this eye-opening overview, a physicist, technology expert, and former Honeywell executive examines the advantages and the potential threats to humanity resulting from the deployment of completely autonomous weapon systems. Stressing the likelihood that these weapons will be available in the coming decades, the author raises key questions about how the world will be impacted.

Though using robotic systems might lessen military casualties in a conflict, one major concern is: Should we allow machines to make life-and-death decisions in battle? Other areas of concern include the following: Who would be accountable for the actions of completely autonomous weapons--the programmer, the machine itself, or the country that deploys LAWS? When warfare becomes just a matter of technology, will war become more probable, edging humanity closer to annihilation? What if AI technology reaches a "singularity level" so that our weapons are controlled by an intelligence exceeding human intelligence?

Using vivid scenarios that immerse the reader in the ethical dilemmas and existential threats posed by lethal autonomous weapon systems, the book reveals that the dystopian visions of such movies as The Terminator and I, Robot may become a frightening reality in the near future. The author concludes with concrete recommendations, founded in historical precedent, to control this new arms race.