Date & Time
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Registration at 5:30 pm | Program at 6:00 pm
Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel
609 Sutter Street, San Francisco
THIS IS A FREE EVENT
Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War
A Pentagon defense expert and former U.S. Army Ranger explores what it would mean to give machines authority over the ultimate decision of life or death.
What happens when a Predator drone has as much autonomy as a Google car? Or when a weapon that can hunt its own targets is hacked? Although it sounds like science fiction, the technology already exists to create weapons that can attack targets without human input. Paul Scharre, a leading expert in emerging weapons technologies, draws on deep research and firsthand experience to explore how these next-generation weapons are changing warfare.
Scharre’s far-ranging investigation examines the emergence of autonomous weapons, the movement to ban them, and the legal and ethical issues surrounding their use. He spotlights artificial intelligence in military technology, spanning decades of innovation from German noise-seeking Wren torpedoes in World War II―antecedents of today’s homing missiles―to autonomous cyber weapons, submarine-hunting robot ships, and robot tank armies. Through interviews with defense experts, ethicists, psychologists, and activists, Scharre surveys what challenges might face “centaur warfighters” on future battlefields, which will combine human and machine cognition. We’ve made tremendous technological progress in the past few decades, but we have also glimpsed the terrifying mishaps that can result from complex automated systems―such as when advanced F-22 fighter jets experienced a computer meltdown the first time they flew over the International Date Line.
At least thirty countries already have defensive autonomous weapons that operate under human supervision. Around the globe, militaries are racing to build robotic weapons with increasing autonomy. The ethical questions within this book grow more pressing each day. To what extent should such technologies be advanced? And if responsible democracies ban them, would that stop rogue regimes from taking advantage? At the forefront of a game-changing debate, Army of None engages military history, global policy, and cutting-edge science to argue that we must embrace technology where it can make war more precise and humane, but without surrendering human judgment. When the choice is life or death, there is no replacement for the human heart.
Author: Paul Scharre
Paul Scharre is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is author of the forthcoming book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, to be published in April 2018.
From 2008-2013, Mr. Scharre worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) where he played a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies. Mr. Scharre led the DoD working group that drafted DoD Directive 3000.09, establishing the Department’s policies on autonomy in weapon systems. Mr. Scharre also led DoD efforts to establish policies on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) programs and directed energy technologies. Mr. Scharre was involved in the drafting of policy guidance in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, and Secretary-level planning guidance. His most recent position was Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
Prior to joining OSD, Mr. Scharre served as a special operations reconnaissance team leader in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion and completed multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate of the Army’s Airborne, Ranger, and Sniper Schools and Honor Graduate of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Ranger Indoctrination Program.
Mr. Scharre has published articles in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Politico, Proceedings, Armed Forced Journal, Joint Force Quarterly, Military Review, and in academic technical journals. He has presented at the United Nations, NATO Defence College, Chatham House, National Defense University and numerous other defense-related conferences on robotics and autonomous systems, defense institution building, ISR, hybrid warfare, and the Iraq war. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the BCC, and Swiss and Canadian television. Mr. Scharre is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds an M.A. in Political Economy and Public Policy and a B.S. in Physics, cum laude, both from Washington University in St. Louis.