Computing experts from 37 countries call for ban on killer robots

Decision to apply violent force must not be delegated to machines!

More than 270 engineers, computing and artificial intelligence experts, roboticists, and professionals from related disciplines are calling for a ban on the development and deployment of weapon systems that make the decision to apply violent force autonomously, without any human control.

In a statement issued today, the experts from 37 countries say that, “given the limitations and unknown future risks of autonomous robot weapons technology, we call for a prohibition on their development and deployment. Decisions about the application of violent force must not be delegated to machines.”

The expert signatories to the statement question the notion that robot weapons could meet legal requirements for the use of force “given the absence of clear scientific evidence that robot weapons have, or are likely to have in the foreseeable future, the functionality required for accurate target identification, situational awareness or decisions regarding the proportional use of force.”

“Governments need to listen to the experts’ warnings and work with us to tackle this challenge together before it is too late,” said Professor Noel Sharkey, Chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC). “It is urgent that international talks get started now to prevent the further development of autonomous robot weapons before it is too late.”

More than 70 countries have acquired drones and the statement expresses concern about the comparable proliferation of autonomous robot weapons technology. The experts question how devices controlled by complex algorithms will interact, warning: “Such interactions could create unstable and unpredictable behavior, behavior that could initiate or escalate conflicts, or cause unjustifiable harm to civilian populations.”


List of countries for signatories
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, India, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UK and USA.

For the full text of the Scientist’s Call click here

For a full, revised version of the list of signatories (as of October 2013) click here

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