UN Wants Moratorium on Building of Killing Robots (LAR)

SF News – UN Special repporteur Christof Heyns in a meeting of UN Human Rights Council expressed concern about the development of killing robots by various countries that would be able to kill humans without any intervention by another human being.  He called for a worldwide moratorium on the development of such weapons.

“The possible introduction of LARs (lethal autonomous robots) raises far-reaching concerns about the protection of life during war and peace,” Mr Heyns said. “If this is done, machines and not humans, will take the decision on who will live or die.”

“War without reflection is mechanical slaughter,” Heyns said presenting a report in this regard to the council. “In the same way that the taking of any human life deserves – as a minimum – some deliberation, a decision to allow machines to be deployed to kill human beings deserves a collective pause worldwide,”

Such weapons, Heyns believes, could make wars more likely as it would take humans out of the loop and it was not clear how such killer robots would be programmed to distinguish between enemy from innocent civilians.

Heyns reported that robots will be the next major evolution in development of weapons.

While the technology doesn’t yet exist, some similar “semi-autonomous” weapons have been developed by the United States, Israel, and United Kingdom.  Also Samsung Techwin has developed a guard robot that is currently being used in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.  The devices detect targets using infrared sensors operated by both humans and machine.