Calls are mounting from countries across the world for the United Nations to establish firm rules banning autonomous weapons – deemed “killer robots” by some – before other nations are able to put them into play with horrifying results.
“Given the rapid development of robotic weapon systems with ever increasing autonomy, the ICRC is convinced that internationally agreed limits are urgently needed to address the fundamental legal and ethical concerns,” Kathleen Lawland, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told AFP, per Breitbart News.
The United Nations held its inaugural summit on the topic of killer robots during the five-day Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), which saw 22 countries argue for a ban on autonomous weapons. The prevailing argument was that any decision to launch a potentially fatal strike on a human being should be made by another human.
Some experts claimed that the UN’s sluggish pace on addressing the threat of killer robots would result in catastrophe, with University of New South Wales AI expert Toby Walsh insisting that the “arms race has happened [and] is happening today.”
“These will be weapons of mass destruction,” Walsh said. “I am actually quite confident that we will ban these weapons … My only concern is [whether] nations have the courage of conviction to do it now, or whether we will have to wait for people to die first.”
In an open letter signed by over 100 CEOs and founders of robotics companies, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots warned that autonomous weapons would exponentially increase the number of casualties sustained in warfare, the Washington Post reported.
“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter read. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at time scales faster than humans can comprehend.”