Campaign to stop killer robots

Note: This post was updated on April 27th to show that CUSJ had joined the campaign.

CUSJ has joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that is working to ban fully autonomous weapons.

Lethal autonomous weapons are independent artificial-intelligence-driven weapons such as drones, that can make decisions to kill people on their own, without human input. Fully autonomous weapons would decide who lives and dies, without further human intervention, which crosses a moral threshold. As machines, they would lack the inherently human characteristics such as compassion that are necessary to make complex ethical choices.

The US, China, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the UK are developing weapons systems with significant autonomy in the critical functions of selecting and attacking targets. If left unchecked the world could enter a destabilizing robotic arms race. Killer robots pose a threat to human life as least as great as other weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Now is the time to ban these, before they become widespread.

The Stop Killer Robots international campaign is encouraging countries to sign an international treaty banning these new weapons. Founders of this campaign include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Pugwash Conference, Nobel Women’s Initiative, World Federalist Movement, and others. There are five Canadian members (including CUSJ) at the time of this entry. You can read more about the Canadian campaign run by Mines Action Canada here.

Finally, here is a video with Campaign Coordinator Mary Wareham, made just after the Convention on Conventional Weapons Group of Governmental Experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems met at the United Nations (#CCWUN) in spring 2019.

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