UN human rights expert calls for a moratorium on lethal autonomous robots

UN Human Rights Expert Calls for a Moratorium on Lethal Autonomous Robots,” United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, May 30, 2013.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, today called for a global pause in the development and deployment of lethal autonomous robots (LARs), to allow “serious and meaningful international engagement on this issue before we proceed to a world where machines are given the power to kill humans.”

“The possible introduction of LARs raises far-reaching concerns about the protection of life during war and peace,” Mr. Heyns noted during the presentation of his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council. “If this is done, machines and not humans, will take the decision on who is alive or dies,” he said.

“This may make it easier for States to go to war; and raises the question whether they can be programmed to comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law, especially the distinction between combatant and civilians and collateral damage,” he explained.

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