The Fallacy of Humane Killing in Interwar Debates about Air Power and Twenty-First Century “Killer Robots”

Page, Adam (2016) The Fallacy of Humane Killing in Interwar Debates about Air Power and Twenty-First Century “Killer Robots”. In: The Means to Kill: Essays on the Interdependence of War and Technology from Ancient Rome to the Age of Drones. McFarland, pp. 260-275. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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The Fallacy of Humane Killing in Interwar Debates about Air Power and Twenty-First Century “Killer Robots”

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Abstract

Innovations in military technology have had profound consequences on understandings and practices of warfare in the twentieth century. After the First World War, military theorists were concerned with developing techniques of war that would avoid the bloody stasis of the trenches and airpower became a key symbol of the new possibilities for technological warfare. More recently, following the widespread use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, developments in military technology have been increasingly focused on machines that can take the place of soldiers. The arguments in favour of this are often centred around reducing the risk to troops and removing the capacity for ‘human error’. These same arguments were made for airpower in the interwar period, and their flaws were exposed by a war that killed more civilians than ever before. This chapter provides a comparative analysis of debates around contemporary ‘killer robots’ and interwar airpower to offer a historical critique of the thinking behind autonomous weapons systems and the imagination of a humane war.

Keywords:drones, airpower, military, warfare, technology
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V140 Modern History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
ID Code:24234
Deposited On:13 Sep 2018 13:53

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