New report claims ‘killer robots’ will eliminate targets without compassion

By Joe Gamp, Contributor, Yahoo News UK

People take part in a ‘Stop killer robots’ campaign at Brandenburg gate in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)

A new report claims “killer robots” will destroy targets without compassion or ethical judgement if countries continue to develop autonomous weapons.

On Wednesday, Government experts debated the use of lethal autonomous weapons at a meeting of the UN’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva.

But Human Rights Watch warned today said that the meetings, which have run since 2014,are “all talk, no action”.

Activists from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of non-governmental organisations opposing lethal autonomous weapons or so-called ‘killer robots’, stage a protest at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, March, 21, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

The charity say the development of lethal machines is soaring without regulation.

HRW have also said countries such as Russia, the US, Britain, Israel and Australia have refused to back calls for a new treaty, declaring the need for ‘some form of human control’ over killer robots.

They are calling for new international law to deal with this glaring legal gap at the UN in November.

HRW said thousands of science and AI experts, plus 20 Nobel Peace Laureates, have supported a ban on killer robots.

Meanwhile, Dutch NGO Pax said on Friday that tech firms such as Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are putting the world most at risk of killer robots.

Pax cited 21 companies as ‘high concern’, notably Amazon and Microsoft who are both bidding for a £8.24 billion Pentagon contract to provide the cloud infrastructure for the US military.

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Computer Science Professor Stuart Russell, of the University of California, Berkeley said: “Autonomous weapons will inevitably become scalable weapons of mass destruction, because if the human is not in the loop, then a single person can launch a million weapons or a hundred million weapons.

“The fact is that autonomous weapons are going to be developed by corporations, and in terms of a campaign to prevent autonomous weapons from becoming widespread, they can play a very big role.”

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