Speaker: Scharre, P.
Date: 24 October 2018
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Mr. Paul Scharre (Center for a New American Security [CNAS]) as a part of its SMA DHS Speaker Series. Mr. Scharre explored a variety of tough questions focused on how we think about human decision making and the delegation of tasks to machines. He highlighted a few quotes from Department of Defense leaders to illustrate how they talk about these issues publicly and illuminate which problems they are facing. He explained that the basic technology to build weapons that could hunt for and attack targets on their own is here; however, there is a “Terminator Dilemma” to consider when determining whether or not this technology should be used. Next, Mr. Scharre defined semi- and fully-autonomous weapons and provided examples of both. He described one extant rationale for building autonomous weapons and taking humans out of the loop, and then discussed a series of legal, ethical, and safety considerations. To conclude his presentation, Mr. Scharre spoke about the US’s prior experience with autonomous systems in adversarial settings and read a few additional quotes that noted the value in this technology, but emphasized the importance of keeping humans in control of the use of force (or at least in the loop).