About Frank Sauer

Author Archive | Frank Sauer

News Roundup: Banning Lethal Autonomous Robots

Over the last couple of months, lethal autonomous robots (LARs) went from a sidelined issue to not only a hotly and widely debated topic but most importantly an official item of United Nations (UN) arms control diplomacy. This post provides an overview over recent media coverage as well as events and statements given at the UN. The […]

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ICRAC’s Heather Roff debates Joshua Foust

Naval Postgraduate School CRUSER Robo-Ethics Continuing Education Series (RECES) Robo-Ethics Panelist Debate (Part 3)

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X-47B “autonomously” aborts aircraft carrier landing

After already having demonstrated the ability to take off from an aircraft carrier deck earlier this year, this week the Navy’s X47B technology demonstrator drone also managed to successfully complete a landing maneuver for the first time. However, what is most interesting about this is that, after having completed two landings, the drone, while coming […]

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Meet ATLAS

Developed for DARPA by Boston Dynamics. For disaster response purposes only? Hmm…

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ICRAC Working Paper Series launched

Today, ICRAC launches its new series of working papers. In ICRAC Working Paper #2 (#1 is to follow suit in the near future, UPDATE: it is now available), Mark Gubrud and Juergen Altmann present “Compliance Measures for an Autonomous Weapons Convention”, inter alia containing a first conceptual sketch about how to implement technical verification measures […]

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On Democracies and Drones

In their article “Killer drones: The ‘silver bullet’ of democratic warfare?“, recently published in Security Dialogue, ICRAC’s Niklas Schoernig and Frank Sauer examine some of the questions raised by democracies relying on unmanned systems. The abstract reads as follows: This article sets out to probe the peculiar nexus between democracy and the military use of […]

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Execution via mouseclick

On July 23 2012, the German public radio SWR2 ran a 45-minute discussion on Obama’s drone warfare with ICRAC’s Niklas Schoernig as one of the experts on air. More information for the German speaking visitors of our site, as provided by the SWR2 website:   Hinrichtung per Mausklick – Sendung vom Montag, 23.7. | 17.05 […]

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Economist: Robots go to War

On June 2nd 2012, ICRAC is tagged in a lengthy article by The Economist, with a quote be ICRAC’s Juergen Altmann: Pressure will grow for armies to automate their robots if only so machines can shoot before being shot, says Jürgen Altmann of the Technical University of Dortmund, in Germany, and a founder of the […]

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2,100 page CENTCOM report on Afghan casualties of US drone strikes

A report released by US Central Command on 22 March 2012 – an excerpt of 5 pages can be found here – contains interesting and unsettling insights into the targeting practice of drone pilots, with one Captain supposed to act as a safety observer noting the “Top Gun” mentality of some drone pilots, and Predator […]

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DARPA Cheetah Sets Speed Record for Legged Robots

This video released by DARPA, the far-out Pentagon’s research agency, shows “Cheetah” breaking the speed record for legged robots. Cheetah is made by Boston Dynamics, the company that developed BigDog, AlphaDog, and PETMAN. This is what ICRAC’s Noel Sharkey has to say about it on the BBC website: “With faster than human speed, this is […]

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Guardian: Attack of the drones

On Sunday 16 January 2011, the Guardian reports on the multi-purpose use of drones, from police enforcement to paparazzi and, obviously, in war zones. In this regard… Noel Sharkey, professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at Sheffield University, told the Royal Society meeting there are credible estimates that one in three casualties from drone attacks […]

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Popular Science: The Terminator Scenario

Are We Giving Our Military Machines Too Much Power?, Popular science asks, quoting ICRAC’s Noel Sharkey: As quickly as countries build these systems, they want to deploy them, says Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield in England: “There’s been absolutely no international discussion. It’s all going forward […]

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Observer: Rise of the Robots and the Future of War

Sunday 21 November 2010, the Observer reports on the technological development in unmanned systems, quoting ICARC’s Noel Sharkey. He … … says it is impossible for autonomous robots today to distinguish reliably between civilians and combatants, a cornerstone of international humanitarian law. He also believes robots lack the subtle judgment to adhere to another humanitarian […]

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Guardian: Campaigners call for tighter controls of deadly drones

On Thursday 16 September 2010, the Guardian reports on ICRAC’s meeting in Berlin on the rapid proliferation of military drone planes and armed robots and possible arms control measures to curb this development, quoting ICRAC’s Steve Wright: “We need a new treaty to limit proliferation. All the arms fairs now are selling UAVs. It’s naive […]

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heise online: Verbot autonomer Kampfroboter gefordert

The German technology website “heise online” reports on ICRAC’s meeting in Berlin. The full text – in German – of the article can be found here. ICRAC’s Berlin Statement can be found here.

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Der Spiegel: Kampfroboter

The German weekly news magazine “Der Spiegel” reports on ICRAC’s meeting in Berlin. The full text – in German – of the article can be found here. ICRAC’s Berlin Statement can be found here.

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The Eagle: War Machines Mith Minds

A short piece on how “[t]echnology takes our minds by surprise again”, qoting ICRAC’s Noel Sharkey and touching on the issue that “humans can be held accountable, machines can’t.” The full text of the article can be found here.

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New York Times: War Machines

27 November 2010, the New York Times reports on ICRAC’s meeting in Berlin. Last month in Germany, an international group including artificial intelligence researchers, arms control specialists, human rights advocates and government officials called for agreements to limit the development and use of tele-operated and autonomous weapons. The group, known as the International Committee for […]

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IRF: ICRAC’s Juergen Altmann on unmanned systems and arms control

On 7 March 2010, the Austrian “Institut für Religion und Frieden” published an extensive interview with ICARC’s Juergen Altmann. He sums up ICRAC’s critical stance on the recent developments in unmanned systems: We are worried by the accelerating trend to arm uninhabited military vehicles, by the high numbers of non-combatants killed in present US and […]

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Allvoices: The ethical and moral concerns of autonomous robotic systems

On 13 February 2010, Allvoices published a piece that discusses why military robotics is on the rise, quoting ICRAC’s Noel Sharkey and also referring to other ICRAC members and their critical stance: There are several reasons why the Department of Defense is shifting its focus away from conventional weapons and towards highly advanced robotic systems. […]

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New Scientist: Campaign asks for international treaty to limit war robots

On 30 September 2009, New Scientist reports on Noel Sharkey, Juergen Altmann, Peter Asaro and Rob Sparrow founding ICRAC. A robotics expert, a physicist, a bioethicist and a philosopher have founded the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) to campaign for limits on robotic military hardware. Roboticist Noel Sharkey at the University of Sheffield, […]

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Popular Science: No Nuke-Wielding Bots in Space, Pleads New Robot Arms Control Committee

Popular Science reports on ICRAC being founded: A newly formed International Committee on Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) has asked nations to ban military bots from space and prevent robots from toting nuclear weapons. No doubt, human characters from science fiction stories such as “Battlestar Galactica” and “Terminator” might agree. The full text can be found […]

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ISN Security Watch: Robot Wars – The Hal Factor

ISN Security Watch reports on current developments in military unmanned systems and also mentions ICRAC being founded to investigate how some of these armed systems could be limited, perhaps even prohibited, if necessary. The full text can be found here.

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BotJunkie: International Committee for Robot Arms Control Is Well Intentioned But Kinda Ridiculous

The self proclaimed “best robotics blog on the Net!” critically comments in ICRAC’s founding. Noel Sharkey replies, and BotJunkie’s Evan Ackerman addresses Noel in turn. This discussion is well worth a read. The full text can be found here.

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