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UN meeting to host debate on Autonomous Army Robots

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An upcoming expert-level meeting of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva is to host a debate on killer robots.

The discussion is to be held between Prof. Noel Sharkey, co-founder of the Campaign Against Killer Robots and chairman of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and Prof. Ronald Arkin from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia.

The meeting will produce a draft report for the annual CCW meeting to review in November.

“[It] may see nations renew the mandate to continue the experts’ discussions or move to a different phase of a more formal negotiating process,” reads a guide by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

“Autonomous weapons systems cannot be guaranteed to predictably comply with international law,” Sharkey has said. “Nations aren’t talking to each other about this, which poses a big risk to humanity.”

Arkin has likewise expressed concerns that the robots could be rushed into battle prematurely. “I support a moratorium until that end is achieved, but I do not support a ban at this time,” he said.

He, however, has claimed the machines could help reduce non-combatant casualties and may be more effective at determining when not to engage with a target than humans are.


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