Human Rights Watch Report Warns of ‘Killer’ Police Robots


The ED-209 fully autonomous robot

Robotic weapons programmed to assess legality … and act lethally.

They may seem like the stuff of science-fiction fans' worst nightmares, but a report released yesterday by the Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic and the advocacy group Human Rights Watch, argues fully autonomous weapons will likely be developed for military and police use.

The report, “Shaking the Foundations: The Human Rights Implications of Killer Robots,” examines the implications of weapons that can operate without human control, a development that researchers say would pose a grave threat to basic human rights.

“Fully autonomous weapon systems have yet to be created, but technology is moving rapidly in that direction,” researchers wrote. “For example, the US X-47B prototype has taken off and landed on an aircraft carrier on its own, and a South Korean sentry robot can identify and shoot humans in the demilitarized zone with North Korea.”

In calling for a preemptive international ban on the development of fully autonomous weapons, the report's authors argue that human judgment should be a crucial factor in determining the legality of any police or military tool capable of taking a life.

Read the full report HERE.

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