Sunday, February 24, 2013

Killer robots a danger to mankind, warns human rights group

A HUMAN rights group is launching a global campaign to warn of the imminent danger of "killer robots".

They say the machines -- like Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator - "would be able to select and engage targets without human intervention".

Now Human Rights Watch wants to highlight the danger of killing machines and wants a ban before they become a reality.

The group says robot warfare is the next step up from unmanned drones, and will be available within the decade.

But HRW, a New York based NGO which spends millions each year raising awareness of human rights, says that the public at large are not aware of the danger.

To this end, it is launching the "Stop The Killer Robot" campaign at the House of Commons. Supporters include academics and Nobel peace prize laureates.

It says: “Fully autonomous weapons do not exist yet, but they are being developed by several countries and precursors to fully autonomous weapons have already been deployed by high-tech militaries.

“Killer robots are weapons with full autonomy would be able to choose and fire on targets without any human intervention.

“The aims of the conference are: 1) To increase civil society awareness and understanding of the challenges posed by fully autonomous weapons (killer robots); and 2) To encourage action by civil society to campaign for a ban on their development, production, and use.”

Dr Noel Sharkey, a robotics expert at Sheffield University, warns that automated weapons are unregulated and pay little heed to moral implications or international law.

He said: “These things are not science fiction; they are well into development.” More