Automated killing and mediated caring

Concept study Predator C Avenger, General Atomics Inc.
  • Citation: Queisner M, Friedrich K. Automated killing and mediated caring How image-guided robotic intervention redefines radiosurgical practice. In: Torrance S, Coeckelbergh M, Soraker J, Whitby B, Wynsberghe Av, ed. Machine Ethics in the Context of Medical and Care Agents. Proceedings of the 50th Anniversary Convention of the Soci­ety for the Study of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence and the Sim­u­la­tion of Behav­iour. London. 2014.
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Abstract: Robot-based intervention in clinical contexts establishes new forms of collaboration between physicians and medical agents. In particular, image-guided robotic intervention such as radiation cancer therapy relies on cooperation between human and robotic actors. This setting comprises an epistemic and a pragmatic dilemma: if the tools and devices increasingly shape, impact and govern medical decisions and actions, how do we describe this form of hybrid agency? What are the implications for medical practice if robots and non-embodied artificial operators gain authorship and autonomy from their human counterparts? The paper will discuss how the kill-chain in radiation therapy relies on black boxing its functions and politics through visual surfaces by comparing it to the mediating role of visualization technology in remote warfare. It argues that the reference to the autonomy of weapon systems could help establish ethical guidelines for the medical field that would complement the demand for an applied iconic knowledge in clinical environments. (Image Credits: United States Air Force, 2013, PD-USGov)