The challenge of killer robots is firmly on the agenda in Norway, where the ethics council of the $830 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has announced it intends to begin monitoring companies investing in the potential development of fully autonomous weapons systems. Ethics council chair Johan H. Andresen said the aim is to see if such investments would be contrary to the fund’s investment policies and ethical guidelines. He described the initiative as "a statement of fair warning, a heads-up." This move by the world’s largest pension fund should spur similar funds and other investors to take a critical look at their investments amid rising concerns over weapons that would select and attack targets without meaningful human control. It sends strong signal in Oslo that it's time for Norway to get serious about dealing with fully autonomous weapons.
Today at the Human Rights Council in Geneva two high-ranking UN experts issued a new report that includes a call to ban fully autonomous weapons. Previous UN reports issued in 2013 and 2014 called for a moratorium on these weapons, which would function autonomously without human control or intervention. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots invites all states to review the new report and respond to its call to ban autonomous weapons systems.
Yesterday (21 January 2015), the World Economic Forum convened an hour-long panel discussion in cooperation with TIME to consider "what if robots go to war?” The session at the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland featured four speakers: former UN disarmament chief Angela Kane, BAE Systems chair Sir Roger Carr, artificial intelligence (AI) expert Stuart Russell and robot ethics expert Alan Winfield. Despite their different backgrounds, all the participants agreed that autonomous weapons systems pose dangers and require swift diplomatic action to negotiate a legally-binding instrument that draws the line at weapons not under human control. Killer robot concerns were raised in other panels, indicating a high level of interest in the topic at Davos.
For the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the highlight of 2015 was the second meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems held at the United Nations in Geneva in April. Representatives from more than 90 countries as well as UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the campaign convened at the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) to engage in five days of substantive deliberations with invited experts on ethical, legal, operational, security, technical, and other challenges raised by these weapons.
Nations agreed today (November 13) to hold another week-long diplomatic meeting on 11-15 April 2016 to continue their deliberations on questions relating to lethal autonomous weapons systems. These are weapons that would select and attack targets without further human intervention. The Campaign to Stop…
More states have raised autonomous weapons concerns at the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security this year than in the past two years, according to a Campaign to Stop Killer Robots review of statements from the 2015 session, which concludes on 9 November. More than 30 states and five groups of states have included autonomous weapons in their statements during First Committee, in addition to the International Committee of the Red Cross and Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Botswana, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Romania elaborated their views on autonomous weapons for the first time, making a total of 62 states that have spoken on this topic since 2013. At the previous First Committee session in 2014, 23 states raised killer robots concerns while 16 did so in 2013. Relevant extracts from the 2015 statements follow below. Almost all states that spoke on the matter have expressed support for more discussions on autonomous weapons in 2016 at the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). At the CCW on 13 November, states will decide whether to keep going with the talks on lethal autonomous weapons systems ahead of the CCW's Fifth Review Conference in December 2016.
20 October 2015 New York PRESS RELEASE: Time for More Serious Action on Killer Robots – Decision on the Way Forward Due 13 November After two years of multilateral talks on questions relating to ‘lethal autonomous weapons systems’…
The leadership of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots will be in New York on 19-20 October to conduct outreach at the UN General Assembly’s annual First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, which opened on 8 October and is chaired by Ambassador Karel van Oostrom, permanent representative of the Netherlands to the UN in New York. Nations are not expected to take any formal decisions on autonomous weapons at this month-long meeting, but for the third year in a row, many are using the opportunity to express their views on autonomous weapons in their statements. (See the extracts posted below)
Peace Movement Aotearoa, co-founder and coordinator of the Aotearoa New Zealand Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, convened a forum in Wellington this week to consider, among other issues, the challenges posed by fully autonomous weapons and call for a preemptive ban. In recent weeks several New Zealanders or "Kiwis" have endorsed the call to ban these weapons that would select or detect their own targets, using force without further human intervention. However, the New Zealand government is sticking with a 'non-position' when it comes to articulating its views on the the matter, saying it is in “listening mode.”