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Killer robots are here: in the air, at sea and on the ground. The looming question is whether we should let them do that job they were designed to do?
Fully autonomous weapons have not yet been developed, but technology is moving toward increasing autonomy. Such weapons would select and engage targets without further intervention by a human. Governments are increasingly recognizing the potential dangers posed by these fully autonomous weapons.
The first multilateral meeting on the weapon systems concluded on 16 May 2014 at the United Nations in Geneva. According to Home Land security News Wire, during the meeting, numerous governments expressed support for the need to ensure meaningful human control over targeting and attack decisions in warfare.
“There is now widespread recognition that ‘killer robots’ need to be urgently addressed,” said Mary Wareham, arms advocacy director at Human Rights Watch and coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. “The call for a preemptive ban on fully autonomous weapons systems has become a central feature of the debate.”
Fully autonomous weapons have not yet been developed, but technology is moving toward increasing autonomy. Such weapons would select and engage targets without further intervention by a human.
Human Rights Watch says it supports urgent action to address fully autonomous weapons in any forum and urges governments to agree to more formal and substantive work to negotiate a new Convention on Conventional Weapons protocol to preemptively ban the weapons.
The adoption in 1995 of an international protocol banning blinding lasers is a compelling example of a weapon being preemptively banned before it was fielded or used, Human Rights Watch said. The organization further notes that it is a co-founder and coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the global coalition of fifty-one nongovernmental organizations in two dozen countries which was created in April 2013. On 12 May 2014, twenty Nobel Peace laureates issued a joint statement endorsing the campaign’s call for a pre-emptive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons.