Human rights campaigners say ‘killer robots’ is taking technology ‘too far’

The fear of robots overtaking the world has emerged as the activation of autonomous killing robots is opposed by the Losing Humanity campaign.

“Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield would take technology too far,” said Steve Goose, Arms Division director at Human Rights Watch.

The campaign is against the use of automated robots considered for warfare as human substitutes. Although using robots instead of human armies can save lives, the lack of human judgement is a major point of concern. It insists robots as weapons should be human controlled at all times.

Losing Humanity is supported by the Harvard School of Law and the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC). They argue the employment of robots without human control for warfare is illegal as it does not meet the requirements of international humanitarian law.

The purpose of the campaign is to inform governments and officials who might find the idea of robot employment attractive without realising the full consequences.

In a 50-page report titled Losing Humanity: The Case against Killer Robots, the IHRC appeals to all states to prohibit the development of such weapons “before it is too late”. The report was issued by Human Rights Watch.

Combat aircrafts like the UK’s Taranis and US Navy’s X-47B are used as examples in the report of “Precursors to Fully Autonomous Weapons”. The South Korean SGR-1 sentry robot is one of the developments verging on such a mass destructive automated weapon. The Isreali Iron Dome was also mentioned.

There are no known fully automated destructive devices operating at this point.

Human Rights Watch is an international organization with staff in more than 40 countries.

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