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Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots Paperback – Jun 4 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chapman and Hall/CRC (May 27 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420085948
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420085945
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.6 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #963,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The book addresses an important issue of intelligent robotics. … This book is very important for roboticists and policy makers as it addresses most of the ethical problems faced by the developers of autonomous military robots. … an important book on the subject of ethics and lethal robots. [The author] provides a clear presentation of the motivation and justification for implanting responsible ethical decision making in autonomous lethal robots, and then suggests an architecture for doing it. I highly recommend this book to the general public as well as specialists."
Industrial Robot, Vol. 37, Issue 2, 2010

"My research hypothesis is that intelligent robots can behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans currently can. That’s the case I make."
―Dr. Arkin, quoted in The New York Times, November 24, 2008

"Ron Arkin’s Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots will be an instant classic on the subject of ethics and lethal robots. He provides a clear presentation of the motivation and justification for implanting responsible ethical decision-making in autonomous lethal robots and then suggests an architecture for doing it! As the number of autonomous military robots rapidly increases, this timely book provides a basis to discuss our difficult options. Can the use of autonomous lethal robots be avoided, and, if not, how should we constrain them? I highly recommend this book to the general public as well as specialists."
―James H. Moor, Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA

"Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots represents the most serious attempt to date to set out how to build an ‘ethical robot.’ An eminent engineer and roboticist, who has spent several years in conversation with philosophers, lawyers, and military ethicists, Professor Arkin is uniquely placed to pursue this project. This timely book outlines and directly addresses the ethical dilemmas posed by the development of autonomous military robots, which will confront roboticists and military policy makers in the future. Arkin’s thesis, that appropriately designed military robots will be better able to avoid civilian casualties than existing human warfighters and might therefore make future wars more ethical, is likely to be the subject of intense debate and controversy for years to come. Deftly interweaving discussion of the just war tradition, the law of war, military robotics, and computer systems architecture, this bold and provocative work will be of interest to engineers and ethicists alike."
―Robert Sparrow, School of Philosophy and Bioethics, Monash University, Australia

"This is a ‘must read’ for anyone concerned about the ethical problems posed by the current development of autonomous military robots. While Arkin and I disagree over the value of providing a robot with an artificial conscience, we strongly agree that the deployment of these new weapons needs urgent international discussion."
―Noel Sharkey, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Professor of Public Engagement, University of Sheffield, UK

About the Author

Ronald C. Arkin is Professor and Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b66496c) out of 5 stars 1 review
10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bf4a180) out of 5 stars could be better Jan. 12 2013
By J. Palmisano - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm a very experienced professional robotics engineer. I'm halfway through this book . . .

I decided to buy this book after going to a presentation by the author. The presentation was well done, incredibly informative, useful, etc. Thinking his book would be the same, I bought it . . .

The book is written more as an elongated science paper, heavy on references, proofs, verbose elitist vocabulary, and theoretical math, and not meant as a light read. From a scientific point of view that's fine, but reading science papers can be incredibly dull and boring.

The author mentions early in his book that his religion was a strong influence in this book, but he doesn't make further mention of religion afterwards. (good or bad, depending on your own beliefs)

One particular chapter was heavy on math and equations, which personally I found absolutely useless and confusing. I can't see how any of it was practical/useful other than as a thought experiment. I recommend just skipping that part.

The author proposes his own and summarizes others ideas towards the ethics issues. Many of these ideas are clearly well thought out, thought provoking, and has changed/furthered my thinking on these subjects. As such is has been worth my time reading. *However*, these ideas are buried in long useless paragraphs. I feel like I'm sifting through trash to find hard to see gold and gems. I recommend the author use highlighting, italics, bullet points, and summary pages at the end of chapters to bring home the best ideas. Also, find more entertaining and less verbose ways of explaining concepts.

I'll update this after finishing the book.