The United Kindom’s government joins the United States and Russia in its attempt to frustrate the plan to formulate and impose a proactive plan to ban killer robots. United Nations delegates met in Geneva to discuss the potential restrictions. They aim to ban lethal autonomous weapons systems that use artificial intelligence to help decide when and who to kill.
Most UN member states are supporting a total ban or strict legal regulation governing the development and deployment of killer robots. The secretary general of the union, Antonio Guterres, agrees to the move. He regards killer machines as “morally repugnant”.
However, Russia, Australia, Israel, the US and the UK are now speaking against legal regulation. The UK military specifically has recently announced a £2.5 million project for drone control using advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence. This comes after they have poured tens of millions of pounds on autonomous weapons.
The head of campaigns at the UN Association in the UK, Ben Donaldson, says they urgently need to put a ban on killer robots. He explains that they need to the UK on board to join the call for a pre-emptive ban on them.
The convention in Geneva is looking to restrict the use of weapons that can “cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately.” This restriction covers landmines, booby traps, incendiary weapons, blinding laser weapons and clearance of explosive remnants of war.
The British military says the issue of human control is the major concern with killer robots. They say the UK offensive weapons systems are incapable of attacking targets without human control. The Ministry of Defense spokesperson also says the UK does not have autonomous weapon systems and has no plans of developing them. They, therefore, think a pre-emptive ban is coming too soon.