Tech Leaders Call for Autonomous Weapons Ban

Tech Leaders Call for Autonomous Weapons BanTech Leaders Call for Autonomous Weapons Ban

Thousands of the world’s pre-eminent technology experts called for a global ban on the development of lethal autonomous weapons, warning they could become instruments of violence and oppression.

More than 2,400 individuals and 150 companies from 90 different countries vowed to play no part in the construction, trade or use of autonomous weapons in a pledge signed on Wednesday at the 2018 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm, Sweden, Al Jazeera reported.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, and representatives of Google’s DeepMind subsidiary were among supporters of the pledge.

“The decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine,” a statement said. “Lethal autonomous weapons—selecting and engaging targets without human intervention—would be dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual.”

Autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots, are capable of identifying, targeting and killing a person without any human input in its decision-making process.

The United States, Russia, China, South Korea and the United Kingdom possess partially autonomous weapons systems such as armed drones, according to Human Rights Watch.

The group is a founding member of the global Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, and has called for a pre-emptive ban arguing such weapons would contravene international humanitarian law governing the use of force.

Independent of Wednesday’s pledge, 26 countries have publicly expressed support for a ban including Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

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