Read the following passage, which contains some underlined or numbered words or phrases. Each of the answer choices contains alternatives for the underlines; choose the one that fits best grammatically or stylistically. If you think the original is the best answer, choose Choice ‘A’, or NO CHANGE.
Questions about specific parts of the passage or about the passage as a whole are identified by numbers only, not underlines. These will be associated with specific questions.
The proliferation of next-generation autonomous weapons systems must preemptively be banned from development
and manufacture. As technology advances on the battlefield, and remotely-controlled killing machines become more
and more capable and automated it is vital to consider the effect these “killer robots” will have on the civilian
populations in the places that there deployed.
Conjuring up images of robot killing machines is not difficult, given that it is a staple of Hollywood science fiction films
like Robocop, The Matrix and the Terminator movies. A Human Rights Watch report, published in 2012, identifies
several weapons systems that are currently remotely operated, (5) but have being given more autonomous functions.
Removing human judgment from the targeting and being used of lethal force might be a mistake. The time to consider
whether or not weapons systems should have the capability to target and fire on targets on their own should be
addressed before the technologies is deployed in the theater of war.
While many of us are familiar with remotely controlled drones, there are other remotely operated vehicles that are
capable of targeting and killing enemy combatants. The Foster-Miller TALON is a small military robot designed for
reconnaissance and combat. One of the most nimble robots in current production, the TALON weapons system can
navigate through water, sand and snow – even climb stairs. Equipped with a video uplink, it’s operator can receive
images the TALON can transmit in color, black and white, and infrared, from almost a quarter of a mile away. TALON
can be fitted with machine guns, grenades launchers, or incendiary weapons. It can also be fitted out with sensors
and a robot arm manipulator arm to defuse Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s).
The technology to upgrade the TALON system, for example, from remotely controlled robots to fully autonomous
weapons systems is already in development. If TALON, or any other remotely operated vehicle, were to slip the leash
of human control, it would have the capability to choose targets and fire at them on its own – a development many
people around the world fear.
Created for Albert.io. September 2014
A Human Rights Watch report, published in 2012, identifies several weapons systems that are currently remotely operated, (5) but have being given more autonomous functions.