Coronavirus: United Kingdom, facing worst recession on record, sees GDP drop 20.4% in Q2

The UK has seen its economy, hit by the coronavirus crisis, suffer a "record" contraction of 20.4% in the second quarter, and is officially facing its worst recession on record, agency figures show National Statistics (ONS), published Wednesday 12 August. 
Economists consider that a country enters a technical recession when it accumulates two consecutive quarters of contraction in its economy. According to the ONS, most of the contraction, which began to be felt in March, occurred in April, an entire month of containment and almost total cessation of activity in the country, which saw production collapsed by 20%.

With a very early recovery in construction sites and manufacturing activity, gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded in May by 2.4% (revised figure), followed by an acceleration in June (+8.7 %) thanks in particular to the reopening of all shops. This is the biggest contraction in the UK economy since the ONS began these quarterly statistics in 1955, he said…

"Killer robots" in the army: "Human responsibility, the possibility of having the last hand on the machine, is absolutely fundamental"

Artificial intelligence is increasingly present on the battlefields, it is necessary to guard against the use of "killer robots" indicate two deputies, Claude de Ganay deputy Les R├ępublicains du Loiret, and Fabien Gouteffarde deputy LREM of Eure, who presented their report on SALA, lethal autonomous weapons systems on Wednesday 22 July. A report that franceinfo obtained in preview.

"Killer robots" in the army: "Human responsibility, the possibility of having the last hand on the machine, is absolutely fundamental"

The possible decision-making autonomy of "killer robots"

The real problem caused by these "killer robots" is their possible autonomy of decision. The robots, the drones, are already deployed on the battlefields but the targets are defined by the man, and the shot is triggered by the man. In their report, the two deputies affirm that "in no case the decision of shooting could not be entrusted to an autonomous system". "The military commander would then be unable to assess the threat, and to weigh his knowledge of the environment and the rules of engagement as well as the overall tactical situation", they insist. "A Terminator", the expression comes up several times in the report, is said to be a machine which chooses its target alone, and which alone chooses to engage it.

Human responsibility, the possibility of having the final hand on the machine, is absolutely fundamental.
Fabien Gouttefarde, LREM deputy for Eure and co-author of the report

"Operationally there is little chance" that these "killer robots" will exist anytime soon, "even if technologically, we could get there in a relatively short time", explains Fabien Gouttefarde on franceinfo. "For the moment we are working on building blocks of autonomy, we are progressing in recognition, in the designation but the shooting and the engagement of fire remain with the hand of the man", underlines the deputy, who adds that for the moment, "we are not always able to follow the path that the machine made and explain why it succeeded in finding such and such a result".

For Fabien Gouttefarde, "as long as we are in this black box, we cannot entrust the machine with a whole series of operations, insists the co-author of the report, particularly in matters of defense, where we really need reliability. , in an extremely critical area which can obviously lead to the death of individuals ".

To be able to "take back control of a machine at any time"

For the rapporteurs, it is necessary to get out of "fantasies of all kinds" about SALA, crystallized around the image of the "killer robot", media and symbolic of the exclusion of man from the battlefield in favor of machines more or less humanoid, more or less autonomous, more or less armed, "but always dangerous and likely to escape human control and to turn, in fine, against its designers", because in any case "the forces would not wish to count in their rank neither Rambo, a soldier acting completely independently, nor the Terminator, a fully autonomous machine ”.

It is therefore necessary that the military commander can "take back control of a machine at any time, in order to give it new orders, to cancel previous orders or even to set new rules, there is a fundamental rule of law here. 'military engagement', write the rapporteurs.

France must push for very restrictive international regulations according to the rapporteurs

The rapporteurs believe that France must push for very restrictive international regulations on the subject. At the same time, French armies and industrialists must also continue their research on the autonomy of systems, so as not to be downgraded, at the technological level, in relation to other military powers.

Fabien Gouttefarde believes on franceinfo that there is "a real risk of strategic stalling for Europe and for France if we do not fund research projects." But these projects must be made "with our values, with our legal framework", warns the co-author of the report, who insists on "the continuity of discussions within the framework of the UN".