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Will There Be a Ban on Killer Robots?


An unmanned combat air vehicle (UAV, or drone).

Arms control advocates, humans rights groups, and technologists are lobbying the United Nations for a global decree banning autonomous weapons.

Credit: Sebastien Rande/Dassault Aviation/Getty Images

The possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) making life-or-death decisions has galvanized a group of arms control advocates, humans rights groups, and technologists lobbying the United Nations to craft a global decree that bans autonomous weapons.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, "The prospect of machines with the discretion and power to take human life is morally repugnant."

Twenty-six countries have urged an explicit ban on AI weapons, but this is unlikely with the U.S. and other influential nations refusing to impose limits while the technology is under development.

Some opponents say a prohibition will stifle civilian research, but advocates like the Institute for European Studies' Maaike Verbruggen say safeguards are required to guarantee robots behave predictably.

Some experts warn any international ban would be rendered pointless in the event of war.

From The New York Times
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