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PRESS RELEASE: 61% opposed to the development of Killer Robots

00:01 EST, January 22, 2019
05:01 GMT, 22 January 2019
22 January 2019

61% opposed to the development of Killer Robots

  • In the 26 countries surveyed in 2018, more than three in every five people (61%)
    responding to a new poll oppose the development of weapons systems that would select
    and attack targets without human intervention.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of those opposed to lethal autonomous weapons systems were most
    concerned that they would “cross a moral line because machines should not be allowed to
  • More than half (54%) of those opposed said that they were concerned that the weapons
    would be “unaccountable.”
  • A near-identical survey in 23 countries by the same company in January 2017 found that
    56% of respondents were opposed to lethal autonomous weapons systems, opposition
    has grown to 61% as of December 2018.
  • A majority opposed killer robots in China (60%); Russia (59%); the UK (54%); and the US

The results of this poll show that public sentiment is against the development of killer robots. A minority of states at the 2018 November meeting of the annual Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) at the UN in Geneva, used consensus rules to thwart meaningful diplomatic progress. Russia, Israel, South Korea, and the United States indicated at the meeting that they
would not support negotiations for a new treaty. Currently, 28 states are seeking to ban fully autonomous weapons. Austria, Brazil, and Chile have formally proposed the urgent negotiation of “a legally-binding instrument to ensure meaningful human control over the critical functions” of weapons systems. The next round of CCW talks will take place in Geneva from 25 – 29 March 2019.

Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, Coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, said:

“The window to prevent the development of fully autonomous weapons is closing fast. This poll shows that public opposition is rising and with it the expectation that governments will act decisively and with urgency to deal with this concern.”

“Governments should take note and listen to the voice of their people. Our shared security and humanity hinges on retaining meaningful human control over the use of force. Now is the time for political leadership to begin negotiations of a new treaty to prohibit fully autonomous weapons systems.”

“The results of this poll show that public views in nations often identified as most in favour of killer robots, such as the US and Russia oppose the development of these weapons. “Efforts to secure a new international treaty to prohibit killer robots via the Convention on Conventional Weapons is being thwarted by the objections of a handful of states.”

The survey by the market research company Ipsos was commissioned by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and conducted in December 2018. Sample size 500 – 1,000 people in each country. For more detailed poll results, visit our webpage, the link will be live 05.01GMT & 00.01 EST Jan 22 2019.

Ipsos will publish their poll here at 05.01GMT & 00.01 EST on Jan 22 2019.

Clare Conboy, Media & Communications
Manager – Geneva, Switzerland.
Mary Wareham, Campaign Coordinator –
Washington DC, United States.
Tel./WhatsApp. +44 (7507) 415-987 Tel./WhatsApp. +1 (646) 203-8292
[email protected] [email protected]

For more information, see:
● Website:
● Twitter: @BanKillerRobots
● Facebook: @stopkillerrobots
● Instagram: stopkillerrobots

Clare Conboy

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