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Outlawing the Terminators

SNA (Tokyo) — Terminators are closer to becoming a reality than most people realize. Killer robots are being developed around the world as next generation weapon systems. If this trend goes unchecked, experts say it could jeopardize international security and, in the long run, perhaps pose a threat to the future of humanity itself.

The United Nations is now holding a meeting in Geneva on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). At this particular conference, more than seventy countries have gathered to discuss the legal and ethical issues associated with Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, called LAWS for short.

Many NGOs, such as Amnesty International, have addressed the recent development of killer robots—LAWS—aiming to ban their use globally before it is too late to contain them. So far, 26 states have agreed to the ban on LAWS.

Nevertheless, the United Nations has been criticized by activists for the slow pace of the negotiations. “Rapid progress is possible,” says the Campaign to Ban Killer Robots, “but the window for credible preventative action in the CCW is fast closing. The talks could and should result in a new CCW protocol requiring meaningful human control over attacks and prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems.”

Campaign to Ban Killer Robots was established in April 2013 and consists of 76 organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. It is also supported by Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman.

The United States, South Korea, and Israel are noted for using LAWS even now, and they have refused to halt their distribution and production of these troubling weapon systems. Israel has actually used semi-autonomous drones to drop tear gas on Palestinians.

Activists argue that the creation of killer robots should be prohibited, especially since their intelligence is artificial and their decisions on whether or not to take people’s lives are beyond immediate human control.

The next gathering to address LAWS development will take place in November 2018 should a consensus not be reached during the current UN conference.

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