Lethal autonomous robots sounds like the title to a bad science fiction movie or video game, but they are becoming a reality, and the moral implications of letting such “Terminator” style machines onto the battlefield – and how to program the machines themselves to act morally – are coming under scrutiny. An article in the New York Times quotes a researcher funded by the U.S. Army as saying, there is “a headlong rush” to develop battlefield robots that make their own decisions about when to attack.
Israel is among the countries on the cutting edge of this phenomenon, and was cited in the researcher’s new report, quoting a Defense News article, as “deploying stationary robotic-gun sensor platforms along the Gaza border in automated kill zones.”
Israel, which talks often of how its army is the most moral in the world, has often been on the front lines in areas such as this, which is one of the reasons for the Lev Aharon program run at the Hartman Institute, under contract with the IDF. Lev Aharon is designed to deepen IDF senior officers’ knowledge of Jewish pluralism and the intersections between Judaism and democratic principles. Over the coming three years, Lev Aharon will include 10 seminars for a total of some 500 lieutenant colonels and 15 seminars for a total of some 300 majors.