Home > News > Human rights group seeks ban on Killer Robots

Human rights group seeks ban on Killer Robots


If the thought of a Cyberdyne Systems' Skynet takeover by cyborg robots scares you, you are not alone.  Now a major human rights organization agrees and is seeking a pre-emptive ban on any future 'killer robot' technology.

We saw the warnings in the Terminator movies, and if the thought of Cyberdyne Systems’ Skynet takeover by cyborg robots scares you, you are not alone.  Now a major human rights organization is seeking a pre-emptive ban on any future technology that could lend or give rise to sentient machines. 

In a recent press release by the Human Rights Watch, the group has stated a serious case for the total ban on the future development of technology that could lead to any type of autonomous killing machine.  The 50-page report titled, “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots” lends serious concerns and gives examples about what could happen if autonomous killing machines are developed.  The report was published by the non-government agency, Human Rights Watch and Harvard’s School of Law, International Human Rights Clinic. 

The main reason the groups are calling for a pre-emptive ban on any future implementation of autonomous killing machines is not only because of the danger involved.  The groups stress that the ethics in creating such a machine that lacks empathy, emotion or any real reason in taking out a human life for defense or offense is questionable.  And while many critics of the paper may scoff at the idea that someone would actually create or pay for such a weapon design, believe it – it is all ready happening to some extent with drone technology.

The United States, Russia, China and Korea are a few major players that are seeking and have developed impressive drone technology.  And if you are following the crisis involving Gaza and Israel right now, you may have seen the “Iron Dome” defense system in play or the images taken by drones flying over Gaza picking out their targets with extreme accuracy.

Currently the U.S. is the main holder of the most advanced drone technology, but for the time being human still control what they can and cannot do. It has been said that in the coming years the control of drones will switch from humans to computerized machines.  The Human Rights Group clearly points out in their report that these so-called ‘killer robots’ may very well pick and choose targets on their own without any need of human instruction.

In the report The Human Rights groups have proposed the following: 

  •  Prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.
  •  Adopt national laws and policies to prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons.
  •  Commence reviews of technologies and components that could lead to fully autonomous weapons. These reviews should take place at the very beginning of the development process and continue throughout the development and testing phases

The report also goes over a few facts concerning what the U.S. is doing in regards to robotics.  They write,

Military policy documents, especially from the United States, reflect clear plans to increase the autonomy of weapons systems. In its Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2011-2036, the US Department of Defense wrote that it “envisions unmanned systems seamlessly operating with manned systems while gradually reducing the degree of human control and decision making required for the unmanned portion of the force structure.”

It is important to note that the banning of weapons in space was a serious issue in the early 1960s but many at the time thought the idea was a bit paranoid.  Nevertheless, a treaty was made and jointly agreed upon and signed by the U.S., U.K. and the Soviet Union (Russia) in 1967.  The treaty became known as the “Outer Space Treaty” and now has over 100 nations agreeing to it.

All of this talk about killer robots and outer space just makes you wonder if one day we’ll see a woman like Sarah Connor warning us of impending doom.  If it does come to pass, I just hope they send back some sexy girl robots. 







Jack Taylor
Jack Taylor is an accomplished writer who works as a freelance journalist and has contributed to many award winning media agencies, which includes VRzone. Born in 1971, Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Journalism, graduating Magna Cum Laude. An eclectic writer, Taylor specializes in editorials, trending technologies and controversial topics such as hacktivism and government spying.

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