Washington: American human rights activists and lawyers have expressed concerns over the use of autonomous drones, also known as "killer robots", saying that the use of such technology would undermine checks on the killing of civilians.
They said that weapons being developed that could choose and attack targets without human intervention should be pre-emptively banned because of the danger they would pose to civilians in armed conflict.
A 50-page report, titled ‘Losing Humanity: the Case Against Killer Robots’ by Human Rights Watch (HRW), warns that fully autonomous weapons would lack human qualities that provide legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians, The Guardian reports.
“Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield would take technology too far. Human control of robotic warfare is essential to minimizing civilian deaths and injuries,” said Steve Goose, the HRW arms division director.
According to the paper, the New York-based campaign group said its report was based on extensive research into the law, technology, and ethics of the proposed weapons.
They called for an international treaty, backed by national legislation, which would prohibit absolutely the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons, the paper said.
Though such weapons do not yet exist, and major powers, including the US, have not decided to deploy them, but precursors are already being developed in countries such as the US, China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia and Britain, the paper added.