Drones Could Usher in 'Terminator Reality'
British Ministry of Defense urges caution in use of unmanned aircraft
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2011 12:29 PM CDT
An unmanned French SDTI drone flies over Afghan and French soldiers during operation Spear Tackle 2 in Surobi district on September 26, 2010.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – As unmanned drones become more widely used, the British Ministry of Defense is concerned that we are on a path toward "a Terminator-like reality," it says in a new study. The use of unmanned aircraft raises serious moral and legal questions, and the report warns that we must determine what constitutes "acceptable machine behavior" as technology continues to accelerate, the Guardian reports.

"It is essential that before unmanned systems become ubiquitous (if it is not already too late) … we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely," warns the report, the ministry's first serious attempt to confront the ethics of drone use. It also notes that "to a robotic system, a school bus and a tank are the same—merely algorithms in a program … the robot has no sense of ends, ways and means, no need to know why it is engaging a target." Still, the MoD does note that it does not plan create such automated machines that run "without human intervention in the weapon command and control chain."