Emerging military and security technologies are bringing forth new challenges.
Advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics continue to push the boundaries of autonomy. Practically, this means that the extent of human-decision making and control of weapons systems is being brought into question. Lethal autonomous weapons systems, in particular, have been identified as deeply problematic from a moral, ethical and legal perspective. Autonomous weapons are weapons systems that can select and engage targets with little human intervention. Autonomous weapons systems have been called the “third revolution in warfare after gunpowder and nuclear arms” by leading scientists and tech developers. Without regulation, the risks posed by these weapons will only increase.
Project Ploughshares has joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a growing coalition of 142 organizations in 62 countries working to pre-emptively ban weapons systems that, once activated, would select and attack targets without human intervention.
While countries have been discussing this issue since 2014 at the United Nations, the process has been slow and technological advancements are outpacing regulation. This points to the clear need for greater dialogue nationally and internationally.
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