“Losing Humanity” is the first major publication about fully autonomous weapons by a nongovernmental organization and is based on extensive research into the law, technology, and ethics of these proposed weapons. It is jointly published by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic.
Human Rights Watch and the International Human Rights Clinic called for an international treaty that would absolutely prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. They also called on individual nations to pass laws and adopt policies as important measures to prevent development, production, and use of such weapons at the domestic level.
Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, and major powers, including the United States, have not made a decision to deploy them. But high-tech militaries are developing or have already deployed precursors that illustrate the push toward greater autonomy for machines on the battlefield. The United States is a leader in this technological development. Several other countries – including China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom – have also been involved. Many experts predict that full autonomy for weapons could be achieved in 20 to 30 years, and some think even sooner.
Read more after the jump.
Much-loved Canadian novelist Rohinton Mistry delivered the convocation speech to graduates at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto, in the form of a fairy-tale based on A Christmas Carol, by way of a critique of the Canadian swing to a neoconservative right, where social spending exists only to promote “moochers” and society is a fight between bad guys (who need to be surveilled all the time in every medium) and good guys (who don’t mind being surveilled in such a way), and where no amount of “security” is ever enough.
Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.
My medium-sized Canadian town has approved funding for police surveillance cameras in the downtown. Generally, it seems people don’t understand how these technologies of surveillance tear the social fabric. One example: ostensibly to combat drunken brawling these cameras and similar technologies divert attention from questions regarding why drinking and substance abuse is so prevalent in our society. Simultaneously funds and resources are directed toward the state security apparatus, the ever-growing military industrial complex which, in the post-9/11 world, is increasingly directed inward toward domestic affairs—Foucault’s panopticon writ large. Slowly, ever so slowly, people begin to act as if they’re being watched all the time—the paranoid who believes they’re in some version of the Truman show.
“The whole future of America depends on the impact and influence of Dr. King.”
Rabbi Heschel spoke those words during the last years of King’s life, when 72 percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks disapproved of King’s opposition to the Vietnam War and his efforts to eradicate poverty in America. King’s dream of a more democratic America had become, in his words, “a nightmare,” owing to the persistence of “racism, poverty, militarism and materialism.”
from “Dr. King Weeps From His Grave” by Cornel West
“Harper’s agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation,” Brigette Marcelle says. “We have to stop him from wasting billions on fighter jets, military bases, and corporate tax cuts while cutting social programs and destroying the climate.