Dr. Keith Miller, the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Springfield recently spoke at the Unmanned Systems Canada Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.
The annual conference was about “unmanned vehicle systems,” which include remote controlled tanks, the Mars rovers, and Predator missile launchers, and was attended by military, industry and academic experts.
“I was speaking on the ethics of UVS design, development, and deployment. The session was well attended, and the discussion was lively, spilling over after my time was up,” said Miller. “People at this meeting are making life and death decisions about robotics and munitions, and they seemed open, even eager, to explore the issues. I was told that ethics questions were raised in other sessions, but that my session was the one that tackled the issues most directly.”
The trip was made possible by funds from Schewe Professorship that Miller received in September, 2009.
“A year ago, I would have said ‘no’ to this invitation. They didn't offer to pay my way, and it wasn't a cheap trip. But with the Schewe money, and with my goal of involving different global voices in a book project, this was a natural,” said Miller.
Miller has been invited back to speak at next year’s meeting in 2010, possibly in an expanded format.