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Warfare and the Humanities: Ethics of Robotics Revolution

The Division of the Humanities at Howard University announces its forthcoming annual Common Text project and series of Collaborative Research Roundtables for spring 2013. This year's organizers have planned a series of events to highlight both moral and ethical issues raised in the Division's featured common text: P. W. Singer's "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century." Singer's well-timed work examines as yet unforeseen moral dilemmas stemming from increased reliance upon the use of predator drones in warfare. The best-selling book explores how science fiction has started to play out on modern day battlefields, with robots used more and more in war. Dependence upon this technology has arguably thrust us in the midst of a great moral revolution that is heightened by the ability to kill one another with astonishing convenience and anonymity.

Five panelists who are experts in related fields of study will discuss the ethics and politics of robotics along with present and possible long range implications of robotic warfare and random surveillance of civilians. Roundtable participants and the titles of their discussions follow:

- Dr. Morris Davis, School of Law - "Law and War: The Evolution of Legal and Moral Constraints on Armed Conflict"

- Dr. Todd Shurn, Department of Systems and Computer Science - "Advancing Robot Utility through Culturally Appropriate Robot Personalities"

- Dr. John Tharakan, College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences - "Appropriate Technology, Survival Ethics and Social Justice"

- Dr. Alem Hailu, African Studies - "Radical Ideologies, Bombs and Drones in Africa: Non- traditional Warfare and the Challenges of Human Security"

- Dr. Greg Hampton, Department of English - "Slaves and Robots Versus. History and Reality: Heeding the Cautionary Tales of Science Fiction."

- Dr. Joseph Reidy, Associate Provost, Howard University

Location: Conference Room A of the Carnegie Building
Price: Free
Sponsor: The Division of the Humanities at Howard University
Contact: Dr. Vernessa White-Jackson
(202) 806-4119
Mar 2013
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