“Humans are odd. They think order and chaos are somehow opposites and try to control what won’t be. But there is grace in their failings” – Hiral Arora opines about killer robots, wars and humanity, reporting from the United Nations Security Council, SRM MUN 2016.
Imagine one pet peeve you have and all the dark dead-baby jokes you have heard all your life. Now set your feet in the shoes of a veteran. See from his eyes, how casual causalities are. They are used to blood and pain. They are used to rotting bodies and scavengers.
‘Few beers down and I am ready to work again.’ This routine, this cold heartedness makes a human impervious to brutality. But then you see a dying friend, a dying lover, a dying child, under a pile of debris and you are to live with that image forever. You blame yourself for living through the massacre. You, who thought PTSD is pretentious and you are above it all, you cannot sleep.
You are also the guy who saw a 15 year old child about to shoot you, but was too nervous and kept closing his eyes, his hand shaking and sweaty over the trigger.
You say, ‘Do what you have to goddammit!’
The child trembles and drops the gun and follows it to the floor. You ask him how old he is. You hear out his story, of how we was forced into this war, how his family is being held captive or one of those stories from the pool of background stories of why people are forced into warfare. No one really likes war.
You set him free. You promise to help him. You get him out of danger and make sure he survives, atleast for now.
Second chances. Mercy. Sparing a life.
These are not possible when this decision is made in nano-seconds by a machine which has no option but to follow a set of instructions you feed into it. You feed the entire Humanitarian Law literature into the machine, and still it wouldn’t know.
The lines and lines of code we put, to create a robot in the image of mankind, thinking of ourselves as pseudo gods. Atheism is the reason, one could say, and science is the new religion. Everyone wants to be more powerful than the rest, god resides in all of us, giving us a sense of what is right and what is wrong.
But transferring that sense in the form of laws? The humanity of humans is intangible. We do not understand it perfectly ourselves, look at all our romances, look at all our contradictions.
There needs to be a way to stop wars. Making robots fight instead is not one of them. Call it my pet peeve.