After several years of debate, on November 13-17, 2017, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will convene a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to discuss the topic of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), more popularly called “killer robots.” While the precise nature of these weapon systems is still the subject of debate, they are generally considered weapons that can select and engage targets on their own. Academics, policymakers, and technology leaders have raised questions about the risks of reducing human control by deploying weapon systems able to select and engage targets on their own.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is an umbrella organization that includes many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with shared concerns about LAWS. Collectively, the Campaign advocates for their preemptive ban, claiming that the introduction of such weapons would violate international humanitarian law and risk devastating consequences to civilian populations. They are not the only groups or people concerned about LAWS. Tesla founder Elon Musk argues that artificial intelligence could cause World War III. A 2017 open letter from the Future of Life Institute, signed by dozens of researchers and executives who work on autonomous systems and robotics, states that making progress on the LAWS issue at the GGE meeting is vital for humanity.
Read the full op-ed in Lawfare.
More from CNAS
PodcastEpisode 26 - Paul Scharre
What are autonomous weapons systems? How are they used in modern warfare? And how do we strengthen international cooperation? In this episode, the Director of the Technology a...
By Paul Scharre
PodcastRobots That Kill
By Paul Scharre
TranscriptTranscript from CNAS Report Launch Event: "Securing Our 5G Future"
On November 7, the CNAS Technology and National Security Program hosted a launch event for the Securing Our 5G Future report. We are pleased to share the transcript of this ev...
By Martijn Rasser, Elsa B. Kania & Rob Strayer
PodcastCNAS Tech: How (Not) to Talk About AI & Lethality
The U.S. Army recently announced its new Advanced Targeting & Lethality Automated System, or ATLAS program. The announcement generated concern and media headlines about the le...
By Paul Scharre, Kara Frederick & Megan Lamberth