New Meaning for the Word “LAWS”

When you hear the word “LAW” I’m sure the majority of you are thinking of something with a legal component tied to it…correct? I know I do…until now.

There is a new word…acronym actually…LAWS. It stands for Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) and is essentially arming unmanned aircraft with lethal weapons. This is a big topic and one that is going to be discussed in the upcoming Geneva Convention.

There was a great article discussing some of the pros and cons of this new type of weapon in The Conversation, “Machines with guns: debating the future of autonomous weapons systems.” There were a number of very interesting points that might be both interesting and useful at the next cocktail party you attend. What most don’t favor is “arming robots” with lethal weapons. But what others favor is having unmanned aircraft (saving lives) is much less expensive and may be more accurate. The debate is definitely one to check out.

In case you don’t have time to read the entire article, let me share some highlights and some insights for you about this topic.

  • There is already a CCW (Certain Conventional Weapons) Convention and there are 5 protocols to this convention
    • Non-detectable fragments
    • Mines and Booby Traps
    • Incendiary Weapons
    • Blinding Lasers
    • Explosive Remnants
  • This group would like to discuss adding a 6th protocol to this list that would regulate or ban LAWS…with the discussion on either regulation or banning
    • Banning – add to the same category as biological and chemical weapons that are currently banned
    • Regulating – add to the category of precision-guided weapons that are currently regulated
  • There is one issue that is troublesome for opponents to this technology
    • Sensors (such as radars) have legitimate civilian use
    • “Lethal” cognition (computer software that targets humans) is similar to “non-lethal” cognition such as that used to target “virtual” humans in video games
    • “Lethal” actuators (weapons such as Hellfire missiles) which can also be controlled by humans with a “finger on the button” are not banned

There is much more to this than meets the eye and that I have even summarized. It is an interesting read and while it isn’t directly affecting the average gun owner today, it has some interesting implications for future firearms that could be developed in the future. What do you think of this as someone who most likely owns a firearm? Discuss your thoughts on this in the comments…

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