Autonomous weapons could dehumanize war, Vatican warns UN [CC]


High-tech weapons are contributing to an “increasing trend of dehumanization of warfare,” the Vatican’s representative told a UN session in Geneva on autonomous weapons systems. …



No kidding. That’s really the whole point of using them.

Sure, you don’t have to risk American lives when you use a drone, but that also has the effect of lessening public concern or scrutiny of the mission.

There’s also the fact that a drone won’t hesitate to cause lots of collateral damage, or be prompted by conscience to maximize the safety of civilians. In this way, politicians can keep touting their elimination of “targets” without having to go through the effort our expense of ensuring these targets are all legitimate threats to national security.

If you want to protect the lives of the innocent, you need boots on the ground.


Instead of trying to make war more chivalrous, why not pressure the national leaderships to make peace!!!


Ive never understood why they fight battles in the way they do today compared to how it was done in the civil war, and just about every war/battle prior to that. Battles were planned, the 2 sides would often camp on opposite sides of a location, and then march at a given time, form lines, flanks, etc. Those were brave soldiers in those days, especially to stand on the front line knowing they would probably be shot first!!! plus, it was all very organized, and at the end of the day, it was known who won. Seems like this was a much better way to fight than the goofy way they do it nowadays.

Anyone know why this was changed and who was responsible for the change in methods?

I remember hearing back in ancient time, warriors would go into battle completely naked, I recall it was for a very good reason, but cannot remember what the reason was right now, this is going to bug me until I think of it now LOL I will do a search on it tonight.


Fighting naked was probably done in tribal times, to prevent the enemy from being able to grab anything but smooth skin. The Romans were clean-shaven for the same reason, to keep an enemy from getting a handhold on their heads.

But by Biblical times they didn’t fight naked.

If wars were still fought by bodies on top of bodies, no modern nation would ever fight one.



Are you serious? War IS making peace, because peace is always impossible unless you have the will to defend that peace with force. Even when peace is achieved by diplomacy, that diplomacy takes place under the threat of war.

Diplomacy involves making compromise, but if a party believes they can get everything they want without compromise, they will. War serves as an incentive for compromise.

I suppose surrender is a kind of peace, but it’s not like any peace you’d want, at least not in this war.


All the more reason, then, not to be chivalrous but to use remote weapons to threaten all kinds of hell on anybody your nation gets into a conflict with.

It makes sense to be a pacifist; it makes sense to be an all-out hawk; but chivalrous half-measures make no sense whatsoever.



I have to admit, if I wanted someone dead, I wouldn’t want to rely on something that’s still currently in its prototype phase. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Google have been at the whole AI-based targeting game for years and the technology is still far from perfect.

Give me the joystick to the drone any day.


I can’t remember which general it was that said the point of war is not to kill the enemy but to render him unable to continue the fight. It’s possible that autonomous weapons might actually reduce the bloodshed. Consider some of the complex weapons systems now in existence. If one can take them out in some technological way without killing many (or any) combatants, then the enemy may be rendered unable to continue the fight without anything remotely approaching the carnage levels seen in the major wars of the past.


I think you are on to something. Suppose we had the means to terminate a leader like Hitler directly instead of killing a few million German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers while suffering many thousands of casualties to our own soldiers and Allied military personnel plus millions of civilians on both sides. Wouldn’t that be preferable to the old way? It is far easier for a politician to stir up a war when his own safety is not directly at risk.


I still prefer to gird my loins.:wink:


What’s funny is that it just becomes a debate on technology in the end. It’s no longer a question of whether or not we should but simply how we can kick global R&D into giving mankind another step.

While there are some of us who rather have tattoos with microchips that neurally link us to classified weapon systems (with mine preferably being to a wrist-mounted flamethrower). :thumbsup:

(Or wait, maybe a cybernetic wyvern armed with said flamethrower… hmm… :hmmm:)


When was war ever humane???


That’s not how drones are being used, though. Drones are used to to maximize the number of “suspected terrorists” killed in as efficient a way as possible while causing the trigger men as little psychological distress as possible. They do this by deploying high explosives from high altitudes, which typically involves killing people around the suspected terrorist in addition to the suspected terrorist, themselves. The high rates of collateral damage aren’t necessary. They don’t serve national interest, and they typically go unnoticed by our civilians. Still, the drone strikes make for good press material, so they continue.


Humane or not, what’s wrong with wanting to end it quickly? :shrug:


How many of you actually read the article before commenting? It clearly states

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi objected to “relying on machines to make decisions about death and life.” He indicated that he was referring to weapons systems that identify, select, and engage human targets by the use of artificial-intelligence systems. He said: “Humans must not be taken out of the loop over decisions regarding life and death for other human beings.”

Assuming the article is accurate, he’s not preaching against unmanned vehicles, he’s preaching against autonomous vehicles, which select targets on their own.

Suppose we had the means to terminate a leader like Hitler directly instead of killing a few million German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers while suffering many thousands of casualties to our own soldiers and Allied military personnel plus millions of civilians on both sides. Wouldn’t that be preferable to the old way?

Suppose we had the ability to do that with an improved drone. Would you rather have a human being making the final decision to launch, or have image-recognition software launch a missile at anyone that looked close enough to Hitler? He’s objecting to the latter.


Well, eventually, humans WILL be taken out of the loop when it comes to war and battles, probably within the next 100 or so years. Once someone has the next big thing in the computer and/or intelligence industry, things will likely change alot, people will want to start using this new technology as to avoid risking human lives, and we will not need soldiers anymore, so alot of parents will be happy about that!

Point is, given enough time, eventually technology WILL take over most of our duties and tasks…this is what progress is, some industries will not be needed anymore due to new technology, for instance, once we have room temp superconductors, that is whats holding back all the hovering cars, and other cool stuff we see in sci fi movies, so once this is created, we probably wont need vehicle tires anymore, so this entire industry will be gone, maybe even the fossil fuel industry, as electro-magnetism will pretty much be the norm then, so wont be much need for internal comb engines, mechanics, etc.

Again, this is just progress…it WILL happen, no matter if we like it or not.


Lamentably, if war can ever be waged without human death, the nations of the world will only then lose interest in it!



well, imo, they would probably go back to taking land and other property if that were to happen.


I would think that unless we develop true AI with a soul, that the human element must remain. There will always be a difference between humanity and non-humanity.

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