Rights Group: Time to Ban Killer Robots

International treaty needed before it's too late, group says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2012 2:13 AM CST
Welcome to the future.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The world needs to ban robots capable of killing without human input before they become a reality on the battlefield, a human rights group warns. Human Rights Watch and Harvard's International Human Rights Clinic are calling for an international treaty to ban the "development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons" and require robot designers to stick to a code of conduct barring them from working on such robots, the Globe and Mail reports.

Armed robot sentries are already used by South Korea and Israel but those robots, as well as US drones, require human approval before they open fire. Human Rights Watch says the robots it is most concerned about are ones already on the drawing board that are run by algorithms which gives the machines the power to choose who lives or dies, removing human decision-making—and accountability—from the process. (Read more Human Rights Watch stories.)

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