From: Riz Khan

Fighting wars by remote control

Robots are revolutionising warfare, but what are the ethical implications?

When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it was only using a handful of “unmanned aerial systems” – otherwise known as “drones”.

Today the US has ground, aerial, marine and stationary robots in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen – one robot can even operate an M-16 rifle and a rocket launcher.

On Tuesday’s Riz Khan we look at the de-humanisation of war as robot combat gathers momentum, and we explore the legal implications of the latest advances in military technology.

Joining the programme in Washington DC is PW Singer, a former defence adviser on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and author of Wired for War: The Robotics of Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, and from Geneva, Philip Alston, the independent UN investigator on extrajudicial killings.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired from Tuesday, June 29, 2010.