Killer Robots

Autonomous technology for military applications is developing rapidly. Autonomous weapons systems rely on sensor processing, rather than human inputs, to select and engage targets. They raise a host of moral, legal, accountability, technological, and security concerns. Stop Killer Robots, launched in 2013, calls on countries to address these problems through an international treaty that prohibits weapons systems that inherently apply force without meaningful human control, prohibits autonomous weapons systems that target people, and regulates all other autonomous weapons systems to ensure they always maintain meaningful human control over the use of force.

Credit: Russell Christian|Human Rights Watch, 2018

States parties to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) have held discussions on these weapons systems since 2014. Although a small number of major military powers have blocked negotiations in this consensus forum, the majority of countries party to the CCW have expressed support for new international law that would maintain human control over the use of force or prohibit fully autonomous weapons. Requiring meaningful human control over the use of force is effectively equivalent to banning weapons that inherently lack such control.