Stopping killer robots

A pre-emptive ban is needed to halt the production of weapons capable of attacking targets without any human intervention. The UK government has said it has no plans to develop such technology. Weapons with a degree of autonomy, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – commonly known as drones – are already widely used on the battlefield. Such weapons are described as “human-in-the-loop” systems because they can only select targets and deliver lethal force with a human command. Organisers of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots – a global effort being launched on Tuesday – say advances in robotic technology mean it is only a matter of time before fully autonomous “human-out-of-the-loop” systems – capable of firing on their own – are developed. They argue that giving machines the power over who lives and dies in war would be an unacceptable application of technology, and would pose a fundamental challenge to international human rights and humanitarian laws. The campaign leader won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work in bringing about a ban on anti-personnel landmines.”The public conscience is horrified to learn about this possible advance in weapons systems. People don’t want killer robots out there. Normal human beings find it repulsive.”

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