Though they have yet to be fully developed, robotic systems with various degrees of autonomy and lethality are used by the US, Israel, South Korea, and the UK, while other nations, including China and Russia, are believed to be moving toward systems that would give full combat autonomy to machines, the campaign warned.
"In recent months, fully autonomous weapons have gone from an obscure, little-known issue, to one that is commanding international attention", it said.
The Geneva meeting is expected to lead to an agreement to place the issue of “killer robots” firmly on the agenda of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons. “Most fundamentally, an international ban is needed to ensure that humans will retain control over decisions to target and use force against other humans,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The US defence department issued a directive on 21 November 2012 that requires a human being to be “in the loop” when decisions are made about using lethal force, unless department officials waive the policy at a high level, HRW said.
However, it added that the directive was not a comprehensive or permanent solution to the potential problems posed by fully autonomous systems. “The policy of self-restraint it embraces may also be hard to sustain if other nations begin to deploy fully autonomous weapons systems”, it added.”—'Killer robots' ban must be part of Geneva talks, says campaign group | Science | theguardian.com (via new-aesthetic)