The head of the RAF tells Channel 4 News that the world of “Terminator 2” is coming in response to a question about unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as “drones”.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as remotely piloted aircraft systems, are a controversial subject. The Predator system, which is remotely piloted, has been used extensively by the Barack Obama administration in the “war on terror”.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that up to 926 civilians have been killed in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004 – and the majority of those deaths have been under President Obama’s administration.
However, the Ministry of Defence has emphasised to Channel 4 News that there are no plans to create “fully autonomous” air systems that would be used to kill, or deploy weapons.
Autonomy does already exist in some of the UK military’s weapons systems, such as the Royal Navy’s Phalanx system which has an automatic mode to protect ships from enemy missiles.
However, research is underway into more autonomous systems, raising fears that weapons systems could be developed that can make decisions, without human intervention, to kill.