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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HRW Warning: Stop the killer robots!

Governments should pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons because of the danger they pose to civilians in armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Monday. These future weapons, sometimes called “killer robots,” would be able to choose and fire on targets without human intervention. The 50-page report, “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots,” outlines concerns about these fully autonomous weapons, which would inherently lack human qualities that provide legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians. In addition, the obstacles to holding anyone accountable for harm caused by the weapons would weaken the law’s power to deter future violations.
Based on the threats fully autonomous weapons would pose to civilians, Human Rights Watch and IHRC make the following recommendations, which are expanded on at the end of this report:

To All States

  • Prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.
  • Adopt national laws and policies to prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons.
  • Commence reviews of technologies and components that could lead to fully autonomous weapons. These reviews should take place at the very beginning of the development process and continue throughout the development and testing phases.

To Roboticists and Others Involved in the Development of Robotic Weapons

Establish a professional code of conduct governing the research and development of autonomous robotic weapons, especially those capable of becoming fully autonomous, in order to ensure that legal and ethical concerns about their use in armed conflict are adequately considered at all stages of technological development.
Download the full report (PDF, 3.51 MB)

Check also the Youtube video below

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