This is the UK’s Taranis combat aircraft. While the Ministry of Defence has stated that humans will remain in the loop, the Taranis exemplifies the move toward increased autonomy. © 2010 AP Photo © 2012 Human Rights Watch The South Korean SGR-1 sentry robot, a precursor to a fully autonomous weapon, can detect people in the Demilitarized Zone and, if a human grants the command, fire its weapons. © 2007 Getty Images

FJP: Last week we highlighted a Slate article that looked into the morality of war and robots. In particular, that autonomous war “machines are not, and cannot, be legally accountable for their actions.”

Today, Human Rights Watch released “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots,” a 50-page report arguing for the ban of fully autonomous weapon systems.

humanrightswatch:

Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Before It’s Too Late

“Losing Humanity is the first major publication about fully autonomous weapons by a nongovernmental organization and is based on extensive research into the law, technology, and ethics of these proposed weapons. It is jointly published by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic.

Human Rights Watch and the International Human Rights Clinic called for an international treaty that would absolutely prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. They also called on individual nations to pass laws and adopt policies as important measures to prevent development, production, and use of such weapons at the domestic level.

Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, and major powers, including the United States, have not made a decision to deploy them. But high-tech militaries are developing or have already deployed precursors that illustrate the push toward greater autonomy for machines on the battlefield. The United States is a leader in this technological development. Several other countries – including China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom – have also been involved. Many experts predict that full autonomy for weapons could be achieved in 20 to 30 years, and some think even sooner.

Read more after the jump.

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