I wrote recently that the UK Government opposed an international ban on developing autonomous weapons. This was during a recent United Nations debate on ethics and laws that should be created to govern the use of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems.
Matthew Hipple (a United States Navy Surface Warfare Officer), writing in War On The Rocks, makes the case that this debate is already too late. He states:
Whether opponents realize it or not, weapon autonomy — to include the choice to kill — will win, and in some cases has already won, the drone debate. The false wall in the public’s understanding between “drones” and existing weapons is publicly cracking. Before long, military necessity will take over. In fact, it already has.
If history has shown us anything, military applications of new technology will be developed. It remains to be seen if we can retain control over those technologies once they become autonomous.