The survey itself sheds some interesting light on people's attitudes — 11 percent of respondents say they'd rather be under attack from robots that could control themselves rather than robots that were being operated by humans — but it's impossible to read the study without getting the nagging feeling that LAWS is just, well, not the acronym you want to be using if you're trying to warn people about the dangers of deadly artificial intelligence.
Laws, which are of course distinct from LAWS, are necessary. Any well-functioning society requires them. So to say that LAWS pose "a matter of democratic and humanitarian concern" is not wrong per se, but it could be misleading. For one thing, the military already uses the LAW acronym — to refer to the light anti-tank weapon. So, in the minor interest of our species' survival, I'm launching an effort to rebrand killer robots to better reflect their true nature. How about instead of LAWS, we call them:
KILLAS — Kinetic Independent Lethal Locomotive Autonomous Soldiers
BOOMERs — Big Obnoxious Outwardly Mobile Eradication Recruits
THWACKs — Tough as Heck While Actively Computing Killzones
VADERs — Vain but Able Death-Emitter Robots
MUSKs — Machines Using Software to Kill
TURINGs — Totally Unrelenting Resource for Infiltration, Neutralization and Getaways
KBOTs — Killer Bloodthirsty Operational Toadies
TERMINATORs — Trained Electronic Representative for Military-Industrial Networks and Autonomous Tactical Operations Resource
For the sake of humanity, I'm open to other suggestions.