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May 13, 2014

United Nations To Discuss Killer Robots Today

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The United Nations is due to start serious discussions on the threats of “Killer Robots” in Geneva today.

In the first-ever convention on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” the multinational post World War Two organization will consider whether Killer Robots breach the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which aims to ban or restrict conventional weapons considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or civilians.

If you’re concerned that you’ll wake up tomorrow in a dystopian nightmare from the Terminator movies, have no fear: fully autonomous Killer Robots do not yet exist, however countries including Israel and South Korea do currently deploy semi-autonomous robotic guns.

The meeting however recognizes that the technology for fully autonomous killing machines is not far away, and seeks to discuss the risk such machines may and will impose on humanity.

“Killer robots would threaten the most fundamental of rights and principles in international law,” warned Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch told AFP.

“We don’t see how these inanimate machines could understand or respect the value of life, yet they would have the power to determine when to take it away.”

The meeting will also consider how to define what an autonomous weapon is, along whether it fits into the definition governed under the convention. The agenda also delves into legal and ethics questions.

 


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