Autonomous Technology

The perilous consequences of automation dependency

The crash of Air France Flight 447 in 2009 highlights the dangers of over-reliance on automation in aviation. When the autopilot disengaged due to a malfunction, the pilots’ lack of manual flying experience led to a fatal error. But counter-intuitively - rather than relying on human intervention we need to trust more in machines and building better systems to automate them.

Autonomous transportation at scale is here

There has been a swift rise in autonomous vehicles on roads. This rapid growth necessitates urgent regulation, particularly around ethical programming decisions and societal impacts. The transition to autonomous vehicles will significantly alter urban life and labor markets, potentially leading to urban segregation and widespread unemployment as human drivers are replaced by robots, underscoring the need for thoughtful societal and regulatory responses to this technological evolution.

Will humans be part of the wars of the future?

There are inherrent challenges of using autonomous weapons with human oversight - in particular the fact that human judgment becomes an “inconvenient impediment” to the speed of modern warfare. Future wars, especially in the cybernetic arena, may render human intervention meaningless - and that should raise ethical and practical concerns.

Unintended consequences of autonomous transportation

Urban mobility is on the brink of transformation with the convergence of on-demand transport, electric engines, and autonomous vehicles. This shift could lead to the end of car ownership, fossil fuel-powered vehicles, and traditional traffic management. It may also free up urban space, reduce transportation costs, and allow India, with its low automobile ownership, to lead this revolution with forward-looking policies and infrastructure development.

War of the machines

The emerging threat of autonomous drones equipped with facial recognition and AI technologies raises new concerns when it comes to the future of warfare. The moral and ethical concerns of fully autonomous weapons calls for an international agreement to ban such technology, akin to the ban on biological weapons.