Humans face ‘awful future’ where machines ‘decide who lives and who dies’ if we don’t ban killer robots, expert says


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HUMANS face an “awful future” where machines “decide who lives and who dies” if we don’t ban killer robots now, an expert has warned.

Calls are growing for countries to come together and stop the development of terrifying new AI weapons that can make chilling life or death decisions without human input.

AFP – Getty

A sentry robot trains its gun on an ‘intruder’ during testing in Korea [/caption]

Human Rights Watch last week threw its weight behind demands for an international treaty against what it called “killer robots”.

And a campaigner today explained exactly why we should all be worried about “autonomous weapons”.

Elizabeth Minor, of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, told Sun Online: “We’re concerned that the systems of meaningful human control over who, where and when to kill are being eroded.

“It’s a real challenge to human dignity and people’s rights – it’s an awful vision of the future where killing is done by machines without human control.”


Minor says this “dystopian” future could see “human beings treated like data points by algorithms deciding who lives and who dies”.

She adds: “We’re not worried about the terminator just yet – but we’re creeping towards a dehumanised future where AI is allowed to make life or death decisions.”

And it’s not just the distant future we should be worried about as a terrifying amount of this technology already exists today, Minor says – including missiles, “suicide drones” and sentry bots.

Getty Images – Getty

Remote controlled combat drones bristling with missiles like this one could be made autonomous, it’s feared[/caption]

The future could see ‘suicide drones’ like this one choosing their own targets
AFP – Getty

Armed sentry bots like this one already operate in South Korea[/caption]

She explains: “There are already anti-personnel sentry robots that can sense people and automatically fire on them. 

“There are systems like this that already exist in the border area between South and North Korea and they do have an automatic mode that can be set to kill anyone that they see. 

“They don’t use this setting currently, but technology is there.”


Minor warns any advancement in this kind of technology could have deadly consequences, including sparking a new global arms race that could push the world closer to a devastating war.

HRW last week said 30 countries are now demanding a ban, after compiling an overview of 97 nations with a stated position on the use and development of “killer robots”.

Most of the 97 want a treaty “to retain human control over the use of force”, the organisation said.

But the US and Russia – who are both investing heavily in developing air, land and sea-based autonomous weaponry – are understood to be blocking an agreement at the UN.

China, Israel, South Korea and certain European nations are also on the move, HRW said – while Britain insists a treaty on killer robots isn’t currently needed.

HRW said: “All countries have a duty to protect humanity from this dangerous development by banning fully autonomous weapons. 

“Retaining meaningful human control over the use of force is an ethical imperative, a legal necessity, and a moral obligation.”


Elizabeth Minor, of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots[/caption]


Minor says we’re ‘not worried about terminator just yet’ but there is cause for concern about the tech being developed[/caption]

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