By Nidhi Subbaraman
A proposal to pause the development of “killer robot” technology is seeing a surge of interest from robotics researchers as well as the representatives of key nations at the United Nations this month.
At a UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security side event Monday, mission delegates from Egypt, France, and Switzerland voiced an interest in regulating “killer robots” — completely autonomous weapon systems — in warfare. They are some of the first international voices backing ideas that the Human Rights Watch and Campaign to Stop Killer Robots have been championing for about a year.
But before deliberations about regulating killer robots can take place, experts say they want more transparency from governments already using semi-autonomous systems, like the Phalanx naval weapon system, that to a degree can fire on their own, without a human “pulling the trigger.”