Nations are becoming increasingly concerned over the threat of killer robots.
In Geneva, 118 nations for the UN conference agreed about the need to tackle the future threat of these robotic killing systems, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The nations at the conference agreed to further talks in April 2015 over the development of the “lethal autonomous weapons systems.” Although no single country has yet developed the technological capacity for killer robots, it’s possible they could exist in the near future.
“By continuing the talks, countries are acknowledging the many concerns raised by autonomous warfare, but the technology is moving faster than the international response,” Mary Wareham, arms advocacy director at HRW, wrote in a press release.
In March, leading roboticist Illah Nourbakhsh warned NPR that the development of autonomous robots could easily lead to military applications.
Hypothetically, if researchers built a robot that could climb a ladder or operate power tools, “that robot can manipulate an AK-47. That means that robot can manipulate the controls of all the conventional military machines as well,” Nourbakhsh said.
The CCW’s modus operandi is to”ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately.” These weapons include mines, blinding lasers, and killer robots.
Among the 118 nations involved in the CCW are the US, China, Russia, South Korea, the UK, and Israel.
One of the main concerns over the development of killer robots is the concern that humans, after becoming disengaged from direct conflict, would become comfortable with the idea of killing.
Former U.S. commander General Stanley McChrystal told BBC’s Today Program, “There’s a danger that something that feels easy to do and without risk to yourself, almost antiseptic to the person shooting, doesn’t feel that way at the point of impact.”
The next round of talks within the CCW will be held in Geneva from April 13-17, 2015.
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