'Killer robots' and their use to be debated at United Nations
Experts will discuss the need for lethal autonomous machines able to identify and kill targets without human input
Killer robots and their use will be debated during a meeting of experts at the United Nations in Geneva, amid fears that once created they could pose a “threat to humanity”.
Prof Ronald Arkin and Prof Noel Sharkey will debate the need for so-called killer robots during the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), marking the first time the issue of killer robots has been discussed within the CCW.
Killer robots are autonomous machines able to identify and kill targets without human input.
Fully autonomous weapons have not yet been developed but technological advances are bringing them closer to existing.
Prof Sharkey, a member and co-founder of the Campaign Against Killer Robots and chairman of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control spoke ahead of the conference and warned autonomous weapons systems cannot be guaranteed to "predictably comply with international law."
He told the BBC: "Nations aren't talking to each other about this, which poses a big risk to humanity."
But Prof Arkin claimed killer robots could help reduce non-combatant casualties and may be more effective at determining when not to engage with a target than humans are.
However, he expressed concerns that the robots could be rushed into battle prematurely. "I support a moratorium until that end is achieved, but I do not support a ban at this time," Prof Arkin explained.
A full report on the discussions will be presented to the CCW in November
In March, the UN Human Rights Council heard concerns surrounding the ethical dangers such machines could pose.
Christof Heyns - the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – called for a moratorium on such technology to prevent their deployment on the battlefield.
In a report submitted ahead of his address, he said: “robots should not have the power of life and death over human beings.”
Mr Heyns highlighted the US’s counter-terrorism operations using remotely-piloted drones to target individuals and argued: “there is reason to believe that states will, inter alia, seek to use lethal autonomous robotics for targeted killing.”
Examples of autonomous weapons systems already in use include the US Navy’s Phalanx gun system that automatically engages incoming threats and the Israeli Harpy drone that automatically attacks radar emitters.
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...