Lethal Autonomous Robots and the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, of which ICRAC is one of the founding members, shared a video explaining how the issue of lethal autonomous robots has been picked up by the international community at the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva. The purpose of the Convention is to ban or restrict the […]

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Geneva Academy Debate: Matthew Waxman vs. ICRAC’s Peter Asaro

Autonomous Weapon Systems: Dangerous Killer Robots or Smarter and Less-Harmful Warfare?, Geneva Academy Debate, Wedesday 20 November 11am – 1pm, Maison de la Paix (Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2), Geneva. The motion under debate will be: “Should there be an absolute ban on autonomous systems capable of using lethal force?” Two key speakers will argue for and […]

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Georgia Tech “TechDebate”: Ron Arkin vs. ICRAC’s Rob Sparrow

“Published on 21 Nov 2013 – This video is of the inaugural debate in the TechDebates on Emerging Technologies series, which focused on Lethal Autonomous “Killer” Robots. LARs are machines that can decide to kill. Such technology has the potential to revolutionize modern warfare and more. The need for understanding LARs is essential to decide […]

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Campaign to Stop Killer Robots takes significant step forward at UN

ICRAC welcomes the historic decision taken by nations to begin international discussions on how to address the challenges posed by fully autonomous weapons. The agreement marks the beginning of a process that the campaign believes should lead to an international ban on these weapons to ensure there will always be meaningful human control over targeting decisions […]

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ICRAC Delivers Statement to States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons at the UN in Geneva

International Community Must Act Now to Ensure Combat Will Never Be Outsourced to “Killer Robots”! – I am speaking on behalf of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), a founding NGO member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Since its establishment in 2009, ICRAC has urged the international community to discuss the […]

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News Roundup: Banning Lethal Autonomous Robots

Over the last couple of months, lethal autonomous robots (LARs) went from a sidelined issue to not only a hotly and widely debated topic but most importantly an official item of United Nations (UN) arms control diplomacy. This post provides an overview over recent media coverage as well as events and statements given at the UN. The […]

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ICRAC Member and Campaign to Stop Killer Robots Deliver Statements at the UN General Assembly First Committee

On behalf of global civil society organizations, International Committee for Robot Arms Control member Matthew Bolton calls for disarmament and arms control “driven by the needs and rights of people most affected by armed violence.” The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots also spoke, calling for fully autonomous weapons to “be prohibited through an international treaty, […]

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Futureproofing Is Never Complete: Ensuring the Arms Trade Treaty Keeps Pace with New Weapons Technology

In a new working paper, International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) members Matthew Bolton (Pace University) and Wim Zwijnenburg (IKV Pax Christi) stress the importance of making sure states control new weapons technologies, including robotic weapons, when the Arms Trade Treaty enters into force. It outlines strategies for civil society (such as the Control […]

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Computing experts from 37 countries call for ban on killer robots

Decision to apply violent force must not be delegated to machines! More than 270 engineers, computing and artificial intelligence experts, roboticists, and professionals from related disciplines are calling for a ban on the development and deployment of weapon systems that make the decision to apply violent force autonomously, without any human control. In a statement […]

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A meme is born: autonomous = secure

One of Joshua Foust’s assertions in his debate with Heather Roff was that making weapons autonomous was necessary in order to secure them against the threat of hacking. I posted a response after Foust reiterated this surprising argument in an article which seems to have gone semi-viral on the internet–launching what seems likely to become a persistent meme […]

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ICRAC’s Heather Roff debates Joshua Foust

Naval Postgraduate School CRUSER Robo-Ethics Continuing Education Series (RECES) Robo-Ethics Panelist Debate (Part 3)

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NYT warns of killer robot gap

New York Times science writer John Markoff reported on Sept.23 that the US military “lags” in development of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), which is sort of true if you compare the status of UGVs with that of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The real reason, as Markoff acknowledges, has to do with the technical difficulty of […]

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The Politics of Killer Robots: Experts Consider Political, Legal and Ethical Implications of Drones and Other Robotic Weapons at Pace University Symposium

Not all conduct is justified in war. Centuries of tradition – from religious texts to chivalry and honor codes to modern international humanitarian and human rights law – have limited what weapons armed groups can use, who and what they can target and where and when they may fight. Each new innovation in military technologies […]

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Everyone is a target

A new short documentary (8 minutes) by Amy Kohn – Autonomous Weapons: everyone is a target – features members of ICRAC giving the reason why we need to move forward with an international legally binding treaty to prohibit research, use and development of autonomous weapons – weapons that once activated can select targets and kill […]

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X-47B “autonomously” aborts aircraft carrier landing

After already having demonstrated the ability to take off from an aircraft carrier deck earlier this year, this week the Navy’s X47B technology demonstrator drone also managed to successfully complete a landing maneuver for the first time. However, what is most interesting about this is that, after having completed two landings, the drone, while coming […]

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Meet ATLAS

Developed for DARPA by Boston Dynamics. For disaster response purposes only? Hmm…

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Foust’s case for killer robots engaged: Autonomous weapons are no phantom menace

ForeignPolicy.com blogger Joshua Foust announced on May 14 that he’d identified a “liberal” case for killer robots, including the seemingly incompatible assessments that they could “do it better”, where “it” means make the decision to kill, and that they are but a “phantom” (therefore not demanding of a serious response, such as discussion of a treaty). Foreign […]

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ICRAC Working Paper Series launched

Today, ICRAC launches its new series of working papers. In ICRAC Working Paper #2 (#1 is to follow suit in the near future, UPDATE: it is now available), Mark Gubrud and Juergen Altmann present “Compliance Measures for an Autonomous Weapons Convention”, inter alia containing a first conceptual sketch about how to implement technical verification measures […]

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Engineers strongly favour a total ban on killer robots

Following on from my recent article in The Engineer magazine asking engineers to say “no” to killer robots, they conducted a poll to find out what engineers thought. They wanted to know if they supported our campaign to ban killer robots. We at ICRAC, with a number of other NGOs, are calling for a new […]

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The Role of ICRAC in the Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations

Last week the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will aim to constrain the flow of conventional weapons to states and organizations that threaten peace and security or engage in gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Several members of the International Committee for Robot Arms […]

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Arms Control for Uninhabited Vehicles: A Detailed Study

In a detailed scientific article just published online, physicist and peace researcher Jürgen Altmann (TU Dortmund, Germany) explains that armed uninhabited vehicles (on land, on/under water, in the air) do not exist in a legal vacuum.   For example, they must not be equipped with biological or chemical weapons. In Europe most land and air […]

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Death by algorithm is the ultimate indignity says 2 star general

Former Majory General Robert H. Latiff (and Patrick J. McCloskey) has stood up to be counted against the coming autonomous lethal robots. Latiff and McCloskey point out the military benefits of the autonomous machines and then comes the but… The problem is that robotic weapons eventually will make kill decisions on the battlefield with no […]

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Smart Robots? Perhaps not smart enough to be called stupid.

The New York Times has entered the discussion about the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Columnist Bill Keller has produced a well balanced article that looks at the pros and cons of a ban. For the ban, he notes that The arguments against developing fully autonomous weapons, as they are called, range from moral (“they […]

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If Big Dog is a supply robot, then why is it throwing concrete blocks?

The impressive ‘big dog’ robot by Boston Dynamics was ostensibly designed as a robust mule to carry supplies to the front line without putting soldiers in danger. So why then, have robot grippers been added so that it can throw concrete blocks for some distance? It’s not for shelf stacking – that’s for sure.

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Obama administration admits that drone confrontations could unintentionally trigger hostilities

CNN yesterday reported a confrontation between an Iranian F-4 fighter jet and a predator drone.  But given the November 2012 incident between Iranian fighter jets and a predator, the drones are now routinely accompanied by US military planes. The Iranian F-4 turned away after a verbal warning was issued by one of two US fighter […]

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