April 09, 2015

Human Laws Can't Control Killer Robots, New Report Says

By Michael Horowitz

When a human being is killed by an autonomous machine, who takes the blame? Human rights non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch says it is virtually impossible to tell, and that presents unprecedented danger in the future of warfare.

The group released a report today showing how difficult it will be to hold commanders, operators, programmers or manufacturers legally responsible for crimes committed by autonomous machines under current legislature.

The paper is the latest for the Campaign to St​op Killer Robots, an international coalition co-founded by Human Rights Watch that has been fighting the production and use of fully autonomous weapons since 2012.

Although fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, Human Rights Watch defines them as machines that would be able to “select and engage targets without meaningful human control,” and is calling for a comprehensive preemptive ban.

Read the full article at Vice's Motherboard.

  • Michael Horowitz

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Michael C. Horowitz is an associate professor of political science and the associate director of Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also an adjunct sen...