menu hero image

The story so far

Global progress towards a treaty on autonomous weapons

2021

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities raises autonomous weapons

For the first time, a Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities recognized autonomous weapons as a threat to the rights of persons with disabilities, demonstrating concerns on the “ability of weaponry directed by artificial intelligence to discriminate between combatants and non-combatants, and make the nuanced determination as to whether an assistive device qualifies a person with disabilities as a threat.” 

2021

Sixth CCW Review Conference misses opportunity to act

A historic opportunity to develop a mandate to regulate autonomous weapons was blocked by a handful of states, including the US and Russia. However, a majority of states pushed for an international treaty to be developed, showing the momentum and hope for the start of treaty negotiations in 2022 as political leadership emerges.

2021

Petition to negotiate new international law on autonomous weapons garners thousands of signatures

A petition to develop new international law for autonomous weapons was presented by Stop Killer Robots and Amnesty International to the President of the CCW Review Conference. The petition, signed by thousands of individuals around the world, called for the end of digital dehumanisation and meaningful human control over weapons systems.

2021

GGE pushes decisions to critical Review Conference

Despite the calls from a majority of states, the final GGE meeting of 2021 was unable to agree on a mandate for future work. The last day of the meeting saw substantive report content stripped and a small group of states using consensus rules to block any progress towards regulation. The final report of the GGE made no recommendations, passing decisions on to the 6th Review Conference of the CCW.

2021

World Council of Churches reaffirms the need for international law surrounding autonomous weapons

In support of the coalition to Stop Killer Robots, the World Council of Churches hosted a webcast which marked the launching of a guide for churches concerned by killer robots. 

2021

Dutch government advised to publicly speak out in favour of a treaty on autonomous weapons

Two advisory bodies to the Dutch government advised that the Netherlands must speak out clearly in favour of a prohibition on fully autonomous weapons that can attack without human intervention and regulation of other semi-autonomous weapons.

2021

New Zealand announces it will push for a treaty on autonomous weapons

New Zealand views autonomous weapons as “abhorrent and inconsistent with New Zealand’s interests and values” and has announced it will push for a legal treaty on autonomous weapons, seeking to make progress by “building and working with a coalition of states, experts and others” to support this goal. 

 

2021

Open letter to German government from AI researchers

In an open letter, Germany’s leading AI researchers voiced their concerns on weaponized AI that operates without meaningful human control. The letter urges German politicians to work towards an international treaty on autonomous weapons. 

2021

Killer robots at UN General Assembly

In a statement to the UN First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, Stop Killer Robots urged states to unite in the spirit of cooperation and solidarity and agree to begin negotiations on a treaty to address risks of autonomy in weapons at the sixth RevCon of the CCW. Stop Killer Robots also delivered a joint civil society statement on Race and Intersectionality in Humanitarian Disarmament, arguing that an anti-racist, intersectional perspective to humanitarian disarmament is fundamental for centering human security and peace.

2021

Second diplomatic meeting of 2021

The GGE held its second meeting of 2021, where there was growing momentum to form a treaty on autonomous weapons.

2021

Austria offers bold support for killer robots treaty

Austria hosted “Safeguarding Human Control Over Autonomous Weapons Systems”, a conference that focused on the legal, ethical, and security concerns of increased autonomy in weapons. Speakers in the conference including Austria’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Schallenberg; New Zealand’s Minister for Disarmament, Phil Twyford; and ICRC Vice-President Gilles Carbonnier strongly called for a legally binding treaty on autonomous weapons. 

 

2021

UN calls for moratorium on AI that threatens human rights

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for a moratorium on the sale and use of AI that threatens human rights, until laws can be established that protect human rights. The call comes alongside the release of a report outlining the dangers of AI – including profiling, automated decision-making and other machine-learning technologies – if not used responsibly. 

2021

First GGE LAWS Meeting of 2021

At the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems first meeting of 2021, 55 states gathered for intense and focused discussions on key elements of a potential new framework on autonomous weapons, with many calling for the negotiation of new international law. 

2021

Rightscon discusses digital dehumanisation

For the second time, Stop Killer Robots hosted an event at RightsCon where panelists discussed how autonomous weapons and emerging technologies can exacerbate existing social inequalities, harm and oppression.

2022

UN report of killer robot use in Libya

For the first time, a UN report has noted the use of autonomous weapons. The report referenced the use of the STM Kargu-2 and other loitering munitions in Libya, writing “The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true “fire, forget and find” capability.”

2021

New Zealand's Minister for Disarmament commits to legally-binding instrument

New Zealand’s Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control committed New Zealand to building an alliance of countries working towards an international and legally-binding instrument to prohibit and regulate autonomous weapons systems.

2021

ICRC calls for new legal rules to address autonomy in weapon systems

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) published an updated position on autonomous weapon systems, noting that they are “…convinced that international limits should take the form of new legally binding rules to regulate autonomous weapons.” The position called for new legal rules including prohibitions and regulation to address the moral and legal concerns of autonomy in weapons systems and to ensure human control. 

 

2021

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots 3rd annual global meeting

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots held its third annual global meeting.

2021

Costa Rica Ministry of Foreign Affairs launches national campaign

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched the national campaign “For a country free of autonomous weapons: technology at the service of peace” and committed to working for a legally binding instrument to prohibit fully autonomous weapons systems and retain meaningful human control over the use of force.

2021

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopts first Resolution on AI technologies

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a quasi-judicial body of the African Union entrusted by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State with protection of human rights in Africa, adopted and published Resolution 473 on AI technologies. It is the first Resolution on AI technologies to be adopted by a regional body of the African Union, and appeals to States Parties to ensure that emerging technologies “remain under meaningful human control.”

2021

Austrian parliament adopts motion on the topic of lethal autonomous weapons

Austrian parliament considered and adopted a motion on the topic of lethal autonomous weapons. The motion requested the Austrian federal government continue multilateral engagement, advocate for a ban of autonomous weapon systems in international law and consistently drive forward an international process, and advocate on the European and international level for strengthening initiatives to effectively counter challenges that artificial intelligence poses to human rights, rule of law, and democracy, particularly in areas of peacekeeping and disarmament.

2021

Soka Gakkai International, World Council of Churches, and Pax Christi launch interfaith statement on killer robots

Soka Gakkai International, the World Council of Churches and Pax Christi issued a joint inter-faith statement on autonomous weapons, firmly rejecting the development of killer robots and supporting the work of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

2020

Scottish National Party submits bill supporting ban on autonomous weapons

The Scottish National Party (SNP) in the UK submitted a bill to the House of Commons calling upon the government to support a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).

2020

First global youth conference on killer robots

The International Student Conference (ISC), with the support of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, organised the first Virtual Global Youth Conference on Fully Autonomous Weapons. Youth representatives from over 20 countries gathered in a dialogue with representatives from the Japanese government and the United Nations to call upon the government of Japan to adopt a firm stance against killer robots.

2020

Special Rapporteur on Racism warns on killer robots

In a report to the 75th session of the General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume, found crucial need for States to “account for and combat the disproportionate racial, ethnic and national origin impacts that fully autonomous weapons would have on vulnerable groups, especially refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and related groups.” The report referenced a submission on racism and killer robots made by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

2020

Belgian federal government pledges new initiative for a regulatory framework on autonomous weapons

Following its election, the new Belgian federal government, pledged Belgium “will take the initiative to arrive at a regulatory framework on fully autonomous weapons systems, with a view to an international prohibition.”

2020

Pope Francis addresses autonomous weapons

Pope Francis’ address to the UN General Assembly marks the first time the Pope has directly commented on fully autonomous weapons. In his address, the Pope stated “lethal autonomous weapons…irreversibly alter the nature of warfare, detaching it further from human agency,” and calls on states to “break with the present climate of distrust” that is leading to “an erosion of multilateralism, which is all the more serious in light of the development of new forms of military technology.”

2020

“The impending age of killer robots? How our data fuels autonomous weapons, and why it’s not too late to stop them”

For the first time, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots participated in RightsCon, the preeminent annual gathering of activists and others working for human rights in the digital age. The Campaign hosted a virtual event where panelists focused on how data is being used to fuel the development of autonomous weapons, and how it is not too late to reverse this trend. 

2020

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots wins Ypres Peace Prize

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is awarded the Peace Prize of the City of Ypres. 90% of those who voted for the Prize were younger than 18 years old.

2020

Ethical committee of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund recommends adding autonomous weapons to list of proscribed weapons

The ethical committee of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global recommended “lethal autonomous weapons be added to the list of proscribed weapons”, thereby setting a  precedent for not investing in companies involved in the production or development of lethal autonomous weapons. The report highlights “it is fundamentally problematic that the critical decisions relating to the use of force are not subject to meaningful human control.”

2020

German MFA hosts Berlin Forum on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems 

Germany’s Foreign Ministry hosts the online Berlin Forum on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems on 1-2 April. In opening the Berlin Forum, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that lethal autonomous weapons systems are “a red line we should never cross” because “letting machines decide over life and death of human beings goes against ethical standards and undermines human dignity.”

2020

Parliamentarians for Global Action launches Global Parliamentary Campaign

Parliamentarians for Global Action launches a Global Parliamentary Campaign in support of the negotiation of a treaty prohibiting fully autonomous weapons, and calls on all Parliamentarians worldwide to sign the PGA Global Parliamentary Declaration in Support of the Negotiation of a Treaty Prohibiting Fully Autonomous Weapons.

2020

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots goes to Buenos Aires

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots held its second global meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2020

Brazilian MFA hosts Rio Symposium on autonomous weapons

Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the Rio Symposium on Autonomous Weapons Systems on 19-20 February 2020.

2019

Annual CCW meeting agrees to continue talks

At the  annual CCW meeting on 13-15 November, states agreed to continue the formal deliberations of the Group of Government Experts for ten days in 2020 under chair Mr. Jānis Kārkliņš of Latvia.

2019

Namibia joins the list of states calling for a ban on killer robots

During the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in New York in October 2019, Namibia added its name to the list of states that are seeking to prohibit fully autonomous weapons.

2019

At 8th CCW meeting on killer robots, Jordan calls for a treaty

During the second session of the 2019 CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) on 21-22 August, Jordan added their name to the list of states that are seeking to prohibit fully autonomous weapons. This meeting, chaired by Ljupco Jivan Gjorgjinski of North Macedonia, marked the eighth CCW meeting on autonomous weapons.

2019

OSCE urges support to negotiate legally-binding rules on autonomous weapons

Parliamentarians from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) concluded their annual session by adopting a 19-page declaration that urges participating states to support negotiations on legally binding rules on lethal autonomous weapons.

2019

7th CCW meeting at the UN

Ljupco Jivan Gjorgjinski of North Macedonia chaired the seventh Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems on 25-29 March at UN Geneva.

2019

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots holds first global meeting in Berlin

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots hosted a public event in Berlin, Germany, in addition to a global meeting of the campaign.

2019

Ipsos releases 2nd poll on autonomous weapons

Ipsos released a second poll conducted in 26 countries showing that more than three in five people responding oppose the development and use of fully autonomous weapons.

2018

Annual CCW meeting agrees on limited meeting days in 2019

At the annual CCW meeting on 21-23 November, states agreed to continue the formal deliberations of the Group of Governmental Experts in 2019 under chair Mr. Ljupco Jivan Gjorgjinski of the North Macedonia, but scheduled a mere seven days of meetings. El Salvador and Morocco add their names to the list of states that are seeking to prohibit fully autonomous weapons.

2018

UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for a ban on killer robots

At the Paris Peace Forum in 2018, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres called for a ban on killer robots, stating, “For me there is a message that is very clear – machines that have the power and the discretion to take human lives are politically unacceptable, are morally repugnant, and should be banned by international law.”

2018

Austria, Brazil & Chile recommend new CCW negotiation mandate

Ambassador Gill chaired the sixth CCW meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems. Austria, Brazil and Chile recommended a new CCW mandate “to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to ensure meaningful human control over the critical functions” of weapons systems. Despite a majority of states calling for a legally-binding instrument, and many calling for a political declaration, the GGE recommended continuing with their current mandate of exploring “options” for future work.

2018

Tech companies sign a pledge at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

More than 200 technology companies and organizations from more than 36 countries and 2,600 individual signed on to a pledge released by the Future of Life Institute at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm, committing to “neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons.”

2018

European Parliament calls for negotiations of a ban of autonomous weapons

The European Parliament adopted a resolution that calls for the urgent negotiation of “an international ban on weapon systems that lack human control over the use of force.” The resolution called on the European Council to work towards such a ban and “urgently develop and adopt a common position on autonomous weapon systems.”

2018

Belgian government to support efforts to prohibit use of autonomous weapons

The Belgian Parliamentary Defence Committee approved a resolution calling for the Belgian government to support international efforts to prohibit the use of fully autonomous weapons and ensure that the Belgian army will never use them.

2018

Google pledges not to develop AI for use in weapons

Google published a set of ethical principles that included a pledge from the company to not develop artificial intelligence for use in weapons. Days earlier, it was revealed that the company would end its participation in Project Maven after the contract expired.

2018

UK House of Lords AI committee recommends UK government amend definition of autonomous weapons

House of Lords committee on artificial intelligence report recommended the UK government amend its far-fetched definition of fully autonomous weapons systems and bring it into line with other countries.

2018

5th CCW meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS)

Ambassador Gill of India chaired the fifth CCW meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems. Austria, China, Colombia, and Djibouti joined the growing list of countries calling for a ban on fully autonomous weapons, bringing the total to 26.

2018

KAIST responds to boycott call from AI experts

After artificial intelligence experts issued a letter calling for a boycott of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the university issued a statement clarifying that it “does not have any intention to engage in development of lethal autonomous weapons systems.”

2018

African Union holds seminar on killer robots

The African Union and African states held a seminar in Geneva to consider greater regional collaboration to address concerns over fully autonomous weapons.

2018

Letter to Google to endorse the call for a ban on autonomous weapons

In a letter, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots invited Google to endorse the call to ban fully autonomous weapons and answered concerns over its participation in a controversial Pentagon-funded Project Maven to autonomously process video footage shot by US surveillance drones.

2018

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’ letter on Korea’s new Research center

In a letter to the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kang Kyung-Wha, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots urged the government to support the call to ban fully autonomous weapons and address concerns raised by a new “Research Center for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence” opened by KAIST and defense manufacturer Hanwha Systems Co., Ltd.

2018

Mary Wareham's address at the Munich Security Conference

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots coordinator Mary Wareham addressed a panel at the Munich Security Conference on artificial intelligence and modern conflict.

2017

Open letter from the Belgian scientific community

A total of 116 scientists working in fields including artificial intelligence, robotics and computer science issued an open letter calling on Belgium to support a ban on weapon systems lacking meaningful human control over the critical functions of targeting and engagement in every attack.

2017

First meeting of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts

Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill of India chaired the first meeting of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts. At the annual CCW meeting on 24 November, states agreed to continue the formal deliberations under the current chair and scheduled two week-long meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts in 2018.

2017

Members of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots at the WIRED Live conference

Noel Sharkey and other members of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots spoke on a panel on lethal autonomous weapons at a WIRED Live conference in London. Machine learning company DeepMind’s co-founder Mustafa Suleyman introduced the panel and affirmed his company’s support of the call to ban these weapons systems.

2017

Open letter from the Canadian AI community to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

More than 200 Canadians working in the field of artificial intelligence, including AI pioneers Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio, issued an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, demanding Canada support the call to ban lethal autonomous weapons systems and commit to working with other states to conclude a new international agreement that achieves this objective.

2017

Open letter from the Australian AI community to Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull

More than 120 members of the Australian AI research community wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to demand that Australia endorse the call to ban lethal autonomous weapons systems and work to conclude a new international agreement that achieves this objective.

2017

The Permanent Mission of Mexico and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’ briefing for UNGA First Committee delegates. 

The Permanent Mission of Mexico and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots convened a side event briefing for UNGA First Committee delegates. Other 2017 UNGA First Committee side events hosted by Kazakhstan on 4 October, UNIDIR on 5 October, and Germany on 25 October also covered concerns related to killer robots. During the 72nd session of the UNGA First Committee, at least 34 states and three regional groups raised the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems in their statements.

2017

Open letter from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots to CCW delegates

At an informal briefing convened by Germany, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots communicated to states that it is beyond disappointed by the current state of the CCW process and distributed an open letter from AI and robotics founders to CCW delegates.

2017

Mary Wareham at ICRC meeting on autonomous weapons

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots coordinator Mary Wareham spoke at an ICRC meeting on the ethics of autonomous weapons systems.

2017

Open letter at Melbourne’s International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

During the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Melbourne, Professor Toby Walsh released an open letter demanding a stronger response to concerns over killer robots signed by founders and directors of more than 100 AI and robotics companies.

2017

The Swiss government’s position on seeking a preemptive ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems

The Swiss government declined to support two parliamentary motions proposing that Switzerland seeking a preemptive ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems. Swiss former President and then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter expressed support for the principle but questioned the need to take action. The next day, Burkhalter announced his retirement from politics.

2017

Under-Secretary-General High Representative for Disarmament Affairs’ first public remarks on autonomous weapons

The Under-Secretary-General High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, made her first public remarks on autonomous weapons during an address to a high-level summit held in Geneva on “Artificial Intelligence for Good.” She explained that states must discuss a range of issues relating to the weapons, particularly “what they consider to be the acceptable degree of human control over the lethal functions of a weapon system, and whether a specific international treaty or instrument is required to ensure that control is maintained.” Campaign co-founder Amnesty International’s secretary-general Salil Shetty reiterated the urgent need for a preemptive ban on fully autonomous weapons.

2017

UN Meeting of Campaign representatives and diplomats on ethical concerned over autonomous weapons

Representatives from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots joined diplomats for an informal meeting to discuss ethical concerns over lethal autonomous weapons systems convened at the UN by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva in conjunction with the Caritas in Veritate Foundation.

2017

Cancellation of first GGE meeting

CCW president-designate Ambassador Matthew Rowland of the UK  announced that the first meeting of the newly established Group of Governmental Experts scheduled for 21-25 August had been cancelled due to a lack of funds.

2017

The UN Secretary Generals’ letter to the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots on autonomous weapons

The new Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, informed the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots by letter of the UN’s shared concern at “the prospect of weapons systems that can autonomously select and engage targets.”

2017

Norwegian Labor Party’s commitment on disarmament and autonomous weapons

The Norwegian Labor Party adopted an electoral programme that commits it, if elected, to “bring international weapons control and disarmament work forward and taking necessary initiatives to regulate the development and use of fully and semi-autonomous weapon systems.”

2017

Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary's support for preemptive ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems

Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua, reaffirmed the government’s support for the goal of a preemptive ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems in a letter to the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

2016

States establish a Group of Governmental Experts on autonomous weapons

At the Fifth Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, states established a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to formalize the process on lethal autonomous weapons and meet for two weeks in 2017. The group of nations endorsing the call to ban these weapons expanded to 19 with the additions of Argentina, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. China for the first time called for new international law on killer robots, providing the precedent of the CCW protocol banning blinding lasers.

2016

36 states express killer robots concerns at UNGA First Committee

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots held a side event briefing for UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security delegates with President of the CCW’s Fifth Review Conference Pakistani Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, AI expert Professor Stuart Russell, and Human Rights Watch Arms Division Director Steve Goose. During the 71st session of the UNGA First Committee, at least 36 states expressed support for the efforts to address concerns over lethal autonomous weapons systems.

2016

World Business Council for Peace conference on inhumane weapons

Kanae Doe of Human Rights Watch spoke at the World Business Council for Peace conference on inhumane weapons and killer robots.

2016

Conference hosted by diplomatic academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots Coordinator, Mary Wareham, spoke on a panel on lethal autonomous weapons systems at a conference on emerging technologies held by the PIR Center and diplomatic academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

2016

First publicly-available dataset tracking military autonomy published

Heather M. Roff of Arizona State University published the first publicly-available dataset tracking military autonomy, which identified 284 weapons systems with autonomous features.

2016

SIPRI and IEEE workshop on societal impact of autonomous weapons

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) & Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) hosted a workshop on autonomous systems and their societal impact.

2016

States set objective to establish Group of Governmental Experts

More than 30 states reaffirmed the objective of establishing a Group of Governmental Experts at the Preparatory Meeting for the CCW’s Fifth Review Conference. Only one state expressed reluctance.

2016

Buzzfeed features autonomous weapons and Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

Buzzfeed published an 8,000-word long-form article by Sarah Topal on autonomous weapons, providing an unprecedented profile of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the diplomatic process, and the state of development of autonomous weapons.

2016

New calls for killer robots ban from five states at third CCW informal experts meeting

German Ambassador Michael Biontino chaired the third Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) informal meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems. Algeria, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Nicaragua were added to the list of states calling for a ban.

2016

German Foreign Office convenes workshop on defining autonomy

The German Foreign Office and SWP (German Institute for International and Security Affairs) convened a workshop in Berlin on defining autonomy and autonomous weapons.

2016

ICRC convenes second meeting of experts

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) convened a second experts meeting on autonomous weapons systems.

2016

Norwegian Government Pension Fund begins monitoring companies investing in autonomous weapons

The ethics council of the $830 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global announced that it intended to begin monitoring companies investing in the potential development of fully autonomous weapons systems and see if such investments would be contrary to the fund’s investment policies and ethical guidelines. Council chair Johan H. Andreson described the initiative as “a statement of fair warning, a heads-up.”

2016

Report by two UN Special Rapporteurs recommends prohibition of autonomous weapons without meaningful human control

A report for the Human Rights Council on the proper management of assemblies by two Special Rapporteurs recommended: “Autonomous weapons systems that require no meaningful human control should be prohibited.” This enhanced a moratorium call first issued by one of the Special Rapporteurs in 2013 report.

2016

World Economic Forum hold “What if: Robots go to war?" panel in Davos

The World Economic Forum and TIME convened a panel of disarmament, weapons, and robotics experts to consider “What if: Robots go to war?” in Davos, Switzerland. Killer robots were first raised at the World Economic Forum during a 2015 panel on technology, “A Brave New World”.

2015

Nations agree to third CCW meeting on autonomous weapons, while civil society is denied access to talks

Nations agreed to hold a third meeting in 2016 to continue deliberations on lethal autonomous weapons systems at the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Campaigners from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots were denied access to an informal consultation after the United Kingdom objected, breaking a 20 year practice of NGO participation in such sessions. During the meeting, Iraq, Nicaragua, Kazakhstan, and Zimbabwe articulated their views on killer robots for the first time.

2015

30+ governments raise autonomous weapons at UNGA First Committee

At the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in New York, 32 governments and five groups of states raised concerns about autonomous weapons, including Botswana, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Romania for the first time. AI letter signatory Professor Toby Walsh addressed a Campaign to Stop Killer Robots side event held with Costa Rica on 20 October.

2015

Open letter calling for ban on autonomous weapons gains more than 15,000 endorsements

More than 1,000 artificial intelligence and robotics researchers and 15,000 other endorsers signed a Future of Life open letter calling for a ban on autonomous weapons.

2015

Second CCW meeting on autonomous weapons held in Geneva

Representatives from 90 nations, UN agencies, the ICRC, and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots attended the second Convention on Conventional Weapons meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems, chaired by Ambassador Michael Biontino of Germany.

2015

Canadian Red Cross and Carleton University co-host event on future of weaponry

Canadian Red Cross and Carleton University held an event in Ottawa on “‘Killer Robots: The Future of Weaponry and IHL.”

2015

Debate on autonomous weapons at AAAI annual conference

Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch and Prof. Ron Arkin of Georgia Tech debated on autonomous weapons at the annual Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) conference in Austin, TX.

2015

Technical experts issue open letter on the future of artificial intelligence

After the first conference held by the Future of Life Institute on the “future of artificial intelligence” in Puerto Rico on Jan. 2-4, prominent scientists and researchers from industry and academia issued an open letter calling for AI and smart machine research that is “robust and beneficial” to humanity, linking to a document outlining “research directions that can help maximize the societal benefit of AI,” including numerous questions on ‘lethal autonomous weapons systems.’ In response, on January 14, Elon Musk announced a $10 million donation to implement the research call.

2014

The Dalai Lama and other Nobel Peace Laureates issue declaration urging prevention of killer robots

The Dalai Lama and other Nobel Peace Laureates issued a declaration that reads, “we support the call for a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons (killer robots) – weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without human intervention,” and urges, “we must prevent this new form of inhumane warfare.”

2014

States agree to hold second CCW meeting on autonomous weapons

States agreed to hold a second Convention on Conventional Weapons meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems in 2015. Colombia and Palestine also spoke on the matter for the first time.

2014

Faith leaders endorse call to action

More than 70 faith leaders of various denominations, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, endorsed an interfaith call to action against fully autonomous weapons.

2014

23 governments raise killer robots at UNGA First Committee

During the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in New York, 23 governments included killer robots in their remarks, including Bulgaria and Finland for the first time. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots also saw strong turnout at its side event hosted with Croatia on 21 October, which featured Ryan Garipy of Clearpath Robotics.

2014

ClearPath Robotics pledges support for a ban on killer robots

ClearPath Robotics of Kitchener, Canada issued a statement pledging its support for the call for a preemptive ban on fully autonomous weapons. The company stated it will continue to work with its military clients, but “vouched to not manufacture weaponized robots that remove humans from the loop” as it “has chosen to value our ethics over potential future revenue.”

2014

First multilateral meeting on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” at the UN

Representatives from 87 nations, UN agencies, the ICRC, and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots participated in the first multilateral meeting on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” at the UN in Geneva. Convened under the auspices of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), the informal meeting featured presentations by 18 experts on technical, ethical, legal, and operational questions raised by the weapons. Czech Republic, Guatemala, Mali, and Norway also spoke for the first time on the matter at the meeting.

2014

Nobel Peace Laureates issue a joint call for a preemptive ban on fully autonomous weapons

Jody Williams (1997) and 20 other Nobel Peace Laureates issued a joint call for a preemptive ban on fully autonomous weapons. Signatories include Mairead Maguire (1976), Betty Williams (1976), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992), Shirin Ebadi (2003), Leymah Gbowee (2011), and Tawakkol Karman (2011), who together with Williams are members of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, a co-founder of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

2014

First ICRC experts meeting on autonomous weapons systems

The International Committee of the Red Cross convened its first experts meeting on autonomous weapons systems, which was attended by 21 states and members of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

2014

Campaigners brief UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters

Campaigners briefed the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters on the emerging international concern over killer robots.

2014

European Parliament adopts its first resolution calling for a ban on killer robots

By a vote of 534–49, the European Parliament adopted its first resolution calling for a ban on “development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention.”

2014

PAX launches first report on killer robots

At a Strategy Meeting of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots in London, PAX (formerly IKV Pax Christi) launched a brief animation film and its first report on killer robots.

2014

First Chatham House conference on autonomous weapons

Chatham House hosted its first conference on autonomous military technologies, featuring Steve Goose, of Human Rights Watch; Noel Sharkey, of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control; and Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams as panelists.

2021

US Naval War College convenes workshop on "legal implications" of killer robots

The US Naval War College held a workshop on “legal implications of autonomous weapons systems” attended by armed forces representatives from the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, and UK.

2013

Experts meeting on armed drones and robots

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights hosted an experts meeting on armed drones and robots in Divonne, Switzerland.

2013

Debate at Geneva Academy

ICRAC’s Dr. Peter Asaro and Professor Matt Waxman of the Lawfare Blog debated the topic of autonomous weapons at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.

2013

CCW adopts mandate to address killer robots

States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons agreed to a mandate to begin work in 2014 on the emerging technology of “lethal autonomous weapons systems.”

2013

Nobel Laureate briefs Italian parliamentarians

Nobel Laureate Jody Williams briefed Italy’s Foreign Minister and leading parliamentarians in Rome.

2013

15 new countries express views on autonomous weapons

At the the Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva, 35 nations expressed their views on autonomous weapons systems, including 15 nations for the first time: Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Ghana, Holy See, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Madagascar, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and Ukraine. A Campaign to Stop Killer Robots side event on Nov. 13 attracted 120 delegates from dozens of countries.

2013

16 governments share views on killer robots

During the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in New York, 16 governments articulated their views on killer robots in their statements, including for the first time Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa. There was strong turnout for two consecutive side events on autonomous weapons: a UNIDIR briefing by Professor Christof Heyns and a Campaign to Stop Killer Robots briefing held with Switzerland on 21 October.

2013

Debate in Berlin

Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division Director, Steve Goose, debated Georgia Tech Professor Ron Arkin at a Zebis (Zentrum für ethische Bildung in den Streitkräften) event in Berlin on autonomous weapons.

2013

France and UNODA convene seminar

More than 20 countries attended a seminar on fully autonomous weapons systems convened by France and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs at the UN in Geneva.

2013

ICRC issues “new technologies” edition of its quarterly journal

The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a “new technologies” edition of its quarterly journal, International Review of the Red Cross, that featured discussion of fully autonomous weapons.

2013

University of Massachusetts releases survey on autonomous weapons

A University of Massachusetts survey of 1,000 Americans found that a majority of respondents oppose fully autonomous weapons and support actions to campaign against them.

2013

First UK parliament debate on killer robots

The UK parliament held its first-ever adjournment debate on lethal autonomous robots.

2013

First Human Rights Council debate on lethal autonomous robots

During the first Human Rights Council debate on killer robots, Professor Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,
presented his report calling for a global moratorium on lethal autonomous robotics. 20 nations spoke for the first time on the matter, with Pakistan speaking first and calling for a ban. Other statements were delivered by Algeria, Austria, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and US, as well as the European Union, Organization of the Islamic Conference, Latin American network GRULAC, and Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. More than 20 nations attended the campaign’s first-ever side event on May 28.

2013

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots launches in London

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots launched in London with an all-day NGO conference, press briefing, and Parliamentary event.

2012

US Department of Defense issues policy directive on autonomous weapons

The US Department of Defense issued a policy directive on autonomous weapons, making the United States the first government to spell out its policy on fully autonomous weapons systems.

2012

Human Rights Watch launches report "Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots"

Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic launched a 49-page report, Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots, which calls for a preemptive ban on fully autonomous weapons.

2012

NGO commitment to take action against fully autonomous weapons

At a Campaign Summit in New York, representatives from 40 NGOs working in humanitarian disarmament committed to take action against fully autonomous weapons.

2012

Agreement to form coordinated civil society “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots”

Representatives from seven NGOs met in New York and agreed to form a coordinated civil society “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots” aimed at securing a preemptive prohibition on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons.

2012

Article 36 calls for a ban on autonomous selection and attack

British NGO Article 36 called for a ban on military systems that are able to select and attack targets autonomously.

2011

IKV Pax Christi outlines ethical and legal concerns

Dutch NGO IKV Pax Christi issued a report outlining its ethical and legal concerns with the use of armed drones and autonomous weapons.

2011

Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams calls for ban on killer robots

In an article for the International Journal of Intelligence Ethics, Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams called for a ban on “fully autonomous attack and kill robotic weapons.”

2010

ICRAC convenes its first workshop

The International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) convened its first workshop in Berlin where its members called for an international treaty to prohibit development, acquisition, deployment, and use of armed autonomous robot weapons.

2010

Landmark report by UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

A report by United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Prof. Philip Alston, found that “Urgent consideration needs to be given to the legal, ethical and moral implications of the development and use of robotic technologies, especially but not limited to uses for warfare.”

2009

International Committee for Robot Arms Control established

Noel Sharkey, Jürgen Altmann, Peter Asaro, and Rob Sparrow agreed to establish the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), calling, inter alia, for “prohibition of the development, deployment and use of armed autonomous unmanned systems.”

2008

Landmine Action expresses support for the creation of a treaty

Landmine Action (now Action on Armed Violence) expressed support for the creation of an international treaty against machines that make their own targeting decisions.

2007

Prof. Noel Sharkey warns against the development of fully autonomous robots

In The Guardian, roboticist Prof. Noel Sharkey warned against the development of fully autonomous robots that make their own decisions about lethality and called for their international regulation.

Image alt text
SKR dots icon

Stop killer robots

Join us

Keep up with the latest developments in the movement to Stop Killer Robots.

Join us