Campaigns mount against UK, China, Russia over killer robots proliferation

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Amnesty International and Stop Killer Robots have launched a petition calling on all governments to voice their support for negotiations in the race to build roots that can carry out targeted killing in a programed area..

Verity Coyle, AI’s Senior Advisor on Military, Security and Policing said the world is stumbling into a nightmare scenario where drones and other advanced weapons can choose and attack targets without human control.

So far China has developed “swarms” which could be programmed to attack anything that emits a body temperature; Russia has built a robot tank which can be fitted with a machine gun or grenade launcher; UK is developing an unmanned drone which can fly and identify a target within a programmed area.

Coyle said the campaign is designed to give people an idea of what killer robots could soon be capable of, and why the world must act urgently to maintain human control over the use of force.

The official warned that such technology is an assault on human dignity which will likely result in devastating violations of the laws of war and human rights.

According to him, robots manufacturing will also intensify the digital dehumanisation of society, reducing people to data points to be processed.

“We need a robust, legally binding international treaty to stop the proliferation of killer robots – before it’s too late”, Coyle urged.

Ousman Noor of the Stop Killer Robots campaign said more than a decade of talks on autonomous weapons at the United Nations are being blocked by the same states that are developing the weapons.

“The UN Secretary General, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Nobel Prize Winners, thousands of scientists, roboticists and tech workers, are all calling for a legal treaty to prevent these weapons.”

Noor told nations and governments to draw a line against machines that can choose to kill.

On December 2, 2021, the Group of Governmental Experts to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) will begin discussions on whether to proceed with negotiations on a new treaty to address the threat posed by killer robots.

No fewer than 66 countries have called for a new, legally binding framework on autonomy in weapons systems.