We have recently begun the process of making revisions to our manuscript for The SAIC Solution, in preparation for the publication of a second edition of the book in early 2013. I need your help. If you have updates to our “Companies formed by SAIC alumni” chart (PDF) I would like you to post them to this blog.

Also, if you have any updates or corrections to the first edition of The SAIC Solution, I would also like to receive those. I am looking forward to updating the book to incorporate my perspective on the IPO and its impact on SAIC’s culture and share price. I have already started writing new material about these subjects and more.

* * *

I recently read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Could We Trust Killer Robots?,” by Tara McKelvey. The article considers the very real possibility that one day drones tasked to target our enemies may have the ability to autonomously make life-or-death decisions, without the direct involvement of a human operator.

Current computer technology makes the production and deployment of lethal autonomous drones a possibility today, although to my knowledge our nation has not yet crossed this line. Of course, the deployment of lethal autonomous drones raises complex ethical and legal questions, and these will need to be addressed before any such systems are employed on the battlefield.

Dr. Ronald Arkin at Georgia Tech’s Mobile Robot Lab has been exploring these issues under contract to the U.S. Army Research Office since 2006. Dr. Arkin and his team produced an interesting video that presents the concept of the Ethical Governor, that works through a scenario for decision making by a lethal autonomous drone. As drone technology continues to advance, these issues will become increasingly important, and we will need to solve them.

– Bob

2 Responses to “SAIC Solution Second Edition, Lethal Autonomous Drones”

  1. 1 Bill Proffer

    Dr. B;

    Now i’ll have to re-read your book, which i’ll do right after finishing off Steve Jobs’ biography this weekend.

    I suspect that the “pedigree chart” will have greatly expanded over the past few years and i’ll look forward to seeing an update of it. Last week, my son Quinn ran across “BusinessGenetics” (http://www.xbmlinnovations.com/ ) founded by Steve Baker (SAIC) and Vic Ahmed in Denver, an interesting company with SAIC roots doing business process modeling.

    The UCSD Alumni Board had a wonderful tour of the new wing of the UCSD Rady School of Management a couple of weeks ago, and I got to watch part of the “Transformers” movie in a very nice new auditorium with a familiar name. Great sound and video system! – i suggest installing a popcorn machine (except i don’t think they allow food and drink in it!) and perhaps starting up a tradition of Saturday night action flick screenings!

    Thank you!

    Best wishes to you and your family,


  2. 2 Dr. Beyster

    Bill: Thanks for the update to the SAIC alumni chart. I’ll be sure it is included in the next edition. I hope that others will also report their findings on this blog. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your visit to the new auditorium at the Rady School. They are doing some good things over there. Please let me know if they decide to install the popcorn machine. — Bob

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