More than 30 countries sign up to draw legal red lines on killer robots

More than 30 countries sign up to draw legal red lines on killer robots. Image: Amnesty International.

Autonomous weapon systems lack the ability to analyse the intentions behind people’s actions.

Reacting to the signing of a communique by more than 30 countries in Costa Rica calling for international legal controls on killer robots, Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

“The development of autonomy in weapons is accelerating, and the growing application of new Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technologies is a deeply worrying development.”

“These machines risk automating killing, treating it as a technical undertaking which raises human rights risks as well as humanitarian, legal and ethical concerns. Autonomous machines will make life and death decisions without empathy or compassion.”

She added: “It has never been more urgent to draw legal red lines around the production and use of autonomous weapons systems to ensure we maintain meaningful human control over the use of force.”

“Amnesty supports the call made by governments from Latin American and Caribbean countries for binding international legal controls on these weapons and welcomes the decision to work in alternative forums, beyond the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons where talks have stalled, to advance this new law.”

They cannot make complex decisions about distinction and proportionality, determine the necessity of an attack, refuse an illegal order, or potentially recognise an attempt to surrender, which are vital for compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

These new weapons technologies are at risk of further endangering civilians and civilian infrastructure in conflict.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]