As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we depend almost entirely on donations from people like you.
We really need your help to continue this work! Please consider making a donation.
Subscribe here and join over 13,000 subscribers to our free weekly newsletter

UN report wants to terminate killer robots, opposes life-or-death powers over humans
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post/Associated Press

Washington Post/Associated Press, May 2, 2013
Posted: May 7th, 2013

Killer robots that can attack targets without any human input should not have the power of life and death over human beings, a new draft U.N. report says. The report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission ... deals with legal and philosophical issues involved in giving robots lethal powers over humans. Report author Christof Heyns, a South African professor of human rights law, calls for a worldwide moratorium on the testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use of killer robots until an international conference can develop rules for their use. The United States, Britain, Israel, South Korea and Japan have developed various types of fully or semi-autonomous weapons. Heyns focuses on a new generation of weapons that choose their targets and execute them. He calls them lethal autonomous robotics, or LARs for short, and says: Decisions over life and death in armed conflict may require compassion and intuition. Humans while they are fallible at least might possess these qualities, whereas robots definitely do not. The report goes beyond the recent debate over drone killings. Drones do have human oversight. The killer robots are programmed to make autonomous decisions on the spot without orders from humans. Lethal autonomous robotics (LARs) ... would add a new dimension to this distancing [i.e., the remote control of drones], in that targeting decisions could be taken by the robots themselves. In addition to being physically removed from the kinetic action, humans would also become more detached from decisions to kill - and their execution, he wrote.

Note: The U.N. draft report is available at this link.

Latest News

Key News Articles from Years Past