Autonomous Weapons Denounced by the Holy See

Source: FSSPX News

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office in Geneva, spoke to the Group of Governmental Experts about autonomous lethal weapons systems (SALA) on August 27, 2018, in Geneva.

According to the prelate the error consists in looking at things from a purely technological perspective, which leads to the “risk of implicitly accepting weapons systems that could prove dangerous in the future.” The correct perspective, said Archbishop Jurkovič, should be a study of the ethical implications of the use of these new types of weapons.

The permanent observer of the Holy See also pointed out that the SALA attenuate the notion of responsibility: “An autonomous system has no intention. It applies and develops algorithms, but it possesses no intentions.” In this sense, he added, “autonomous weapons systems that hide the responsible person are unacceptable.”

The representative of the Holy See warned,

If important decision-making powers are delegated to a machine whose attitude is unpredictable or whose fields of operation are not very well defined or known – for example, if the machine has the ability to learn – then the very notion of a responsible act would inevitably be compromised.

“We would then be accepting a flagrant contradiction and undermining the legal foundations upon which legal institutions are based, including the repression of crime,” he concluded.