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Comment Good luck enforcing it: (Score 4, Interesting) 213

Many restricted military technologies are fairly easy to detect. Nuclear weapons require a massive industrial input that has well known signatures, for example.

A robot is different. It can be something that's dual use. One day it's a regular robot. Look at the software. All civilian and a nice strong optics mount point on it.

Change the software and swap some of the camera gear for a small machine gun and use the rest for aiming, it's a killbot. This is just one example. Another obvious one is putting an autonomous drone software package into the flight computers of an airplane that can also be manned. This game can go on and on with just about any weapons system you can think of.

It doesn't take industrial facilities that are different from usual ones to make them. If you can make versatile robots for civilian use, and separately make weapons you just have to put them together at the last minute. They don't have any particular signatures the way chemical weapons and their precursors do. Most nations are already making ordinance, so who's to say whether a human is going to be in the loop to fire it or if it's triggered by an AI?

If people want to cheat on this, it'll be pretty easy to do so.

So far, the landmine bans haven't seemed to have slowed down the planting of them a bit in various wars. We have to have demining teams, not just for cleaning up old wars, but the very ones that are going on now.

I don't expect this to have a much greater effect.

Comment Re:Fantastic! (Score 1) 385

"There is a huge ethical debate on curing ageing."

And most of the questions are over illusory problems or ones that have to be dealt with regardless of whether we delay aging/increase healthy lifespan.

First off, people say live forever. No. All we've done is remove the decline that is now universal. You're still vulnerable to accidents, infections, murders, etc. etc. Perhaps we can increase safety margins and put in backup systems in time, but for now, if your brain is deprived of oxygen for more than a scant few minutes, you're done. That can happen from many things.

Secondly, we are seeing a birth dearth in many of the industrialized nations. Germany is an excellent example. They'll accept large numbers of Syrian immigrants because they have to, not just out of the goodness of their hearts (And I compliment those who are accepting them. Cold, without employment and in a transit camp without a country is no way to have to live.). They need workers to replace those who are retiring and haven't been replaced by new births in Germany. The reason for this is that birth rate drops have outpaced lifespan gains. For all the hype, waving your hands and mumbling something about robotics and automation is at best a guess about the future, not something that has been fully demonstrated.

Those places with shorter lifespans often are the ones that have major overpopulation problems. If you don't have an acceptable birth rate having people die earlier won't compensate for it.

Often, rather than clearing out the stodgy, what happens is that the last person who knows a crucial piece of information retires or dies unexpectedly (e.g. The maintenance supervisor who knows to grease this particular bearing on a custom made machine monthly or suffer a multimillion dollar downtime for the production line, a major repair bill and a wait for the parts to be fabricated. That happened at a brass plant my brother worked at. I've seen many similar, though less costly cases during my own career.)

Here on Slashdot, we regularly have discussion that note that older programmers are replaced not because of lack of skills, but rather do to high salaries from years of service, and, or high healthcare costs due to greater risk of expensive major health problems.

So, it's not clear that the glut of stodgy but healthy working oldsters will happen. And what with the current demographics we're seeing a major coming glut of stodgy Unhealthy unable to work oldsters that must be taken care of by the smaller numbers who still are working.

Comment Re:Locality of self. (Score 4, Insightful) 269

I mostly agree, but will mumble a bit.

I'm not even sure that the incremental replacement method would "work".

Defining what we mean by "it worked" when it comes to something judged by subjective experience only is very squishy on whether it really worked, or you just think it worked.

Since we can't even define consciousness well yet, and good luck on The Hard Problem, I'd instead say it doesn't look hopeful, but the jury is still out.

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