Dozens of countries have been echoing calls to negotiate a treaty to retain “meaningful human control over the use of force”, including 30 states that want to ban fully autonomous weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapons systems.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) advocacy director Mary Wareham believes the use of autonomous weaponry has emerged as “one of the most pressing threats to humanity” in the world today, as she berated leading nations for failing to take adequate measures to tackle the problem.
The expert has issued a warning that killer robots would potentially be able to “wipe out swathes of the human population with unaccountable attacks.”
Outlining the risks of AI in the battlefield, the advocacy director of HRW arms division wrote in an open letter published by HRW:
“Major military powers are racing to embrace weapons that select and fire on targets without meaningful human control. This is raising the spectre of immoral, unaccountable, largely uncontrollable weapon systems – killer robots. It is also driving fears of widespread proliferation and arms races leading to global and regional instability.”
Sounding the alarm
The expert emphasised that many countries were beginning to sound the alarm on these weapons systems, as in mid-November the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the annual meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) called for a new international treaty to ban killer robots, stating…