PRESS RELEASE: Inaction by states allows tech companies and a handful of governments to recklessly pursue the
EMBARGOED until 6am EST Oct 21
21 October 2019
New York, USA.
Inaction by states allows tech companies and a handful of governments to recklessly pursue the development of fully autonomous weapons. Only a new ban treaty will prevent a future of killer robots.
- Microsoft, Amazon, Clarifai, Anduril and Palantir are amongst companies named as being at highest
risk of endangering the world and our shared security through the development of killer robots as
outlined in a recent report by Campaign to Stop Killer Robots member PAX.
- Demands by thousands of tech workers, AI and robotics experts, 26 Nobel Laureates, the UN
Secretary-General, faith leaders, the EU Parliament, 61% of the public in 26 countries, and civil society
for a preemptive treaty prohibiting killer robots are growing. A total of 29 countries have now explicitly
called for a ban on killer robots.
- Earlier this month at the UN General Assembly, dozens of foreign ministers endorsed a killer robots
declaration as part of an “Alliance for Multilateralism” initiative led by Germany and France. Killer
robots are identified alongside climate change and four other “politically relevant” issues as areas
where multilateral inaction will threaten a “rules-based international order”.
- The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots calls on political leaders and states to be bolder and launch
negotiations to prohibit killer robots to ensure that one of the most dangerous and unacceptable
applications of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies is stopped before causing untold
“Fully autonomous weapons systems will fundamentally destabilize nations around the world. Only a new international ban treaty can effectively address the multiple ethical, moral, legal, accountability, security, and technological concerns raised by killer robots.“ said Coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Jody Williams, said: “Fully autonomous weapons are not an inevitable reality. The time to act is now. History will note which political leaders recognized the gravity of this threat and took legislative action and those that did not. We must avoid the human suffering that will occur if killer robots are deployed.”
Tech worker, Liz O’Sullivan, who resigned from Clarifai earlier this year over their contribution to Project Maven, said: “With so much money flowing into the development of killer robots, growing numbers of tech workers are speaking out and demanding regulation in the form of new international law. We need to ensure that weapons which can select and engage their targets without meaningful human control are banned to the same degree as biological and chemical ones.”
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots visited the offices of Microsoft, Amazon, Clarifai and Palantir over the weekend with the Campaign’s robot to deliver the message “Not all robots will be friendly. Don’t build fully autonomous weapons. Support the call to ban killer robots”. So far, diplomatic talks in the Convention on Conventional Weapons at the UN in Geneva, have failed to deliver any substantive result since they began in 2014. A small number of military powers—most notably Russia and the United States—have blocked the will of the majority to maintain meaningful human control over the use of force. While the Alliance for Multilateralism shows a desire for progress at the highest level of government around the world, the
Campaign calls on political leaders to harness this desire for action and show more ambition and urgency by launching negotiations to preemptively ban killer robots. Photos + video of the Campaign’s robot visiting tech company offices and Times Square will be available here.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a coalition of 131 nongovernmental organisations in 60 countries that is working to preemptively ban fully autonomous weapons and require meaningful human control over the use of force.
For more information, see:
● Website: www.stopkillerrobots.org
● Twitter: @BanKillerRobots
● Facebook: @stopkillerrobots
● Instagram: stopkillerrobots