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'Killer Robots' Could Become Perfect Tool for Repression - Rights Group

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"Killer robots" may become a perfect tool for repression in the future, as fully autonomous machines do not have humane traits such as compassion.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — So-called "killer robots" or fully autonomous weapons could serve as a perfect tool for repression as they lack humane traits such as compassion, Bonnie Docherty, the lead author of a recently-published report on the issue, told Sputnik on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic released a report calling for fully autonomous weapons to be banned.

"In fact, fully autonomous weapons could be a perfect tool for repression. They would lack compassion and would not turn on their commander in the same way that human soldiers might if asked to commit atrocities."

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Speaking of the possibility of fully autonomous weapons being acquired by terrorist and extremist groups, Docherty noted that such a scenario was concerning as these weapons are "advanced technology."

"However, we are concerned about the technology falling in the hands of countries or armed groups that disregard international law," the report's author concluded.

Docherty also added that the production of "killer robots" could start in the coming years or decades.

"Technology is moving rapidly toward greater autonomy, and most experts believe fully autonomous weapons are a realistic possibility in the coming years or decades."

Docherty added that fully autonomous technologies by themselves are not a threat to society and may even be beneficial.

"Our concern is when that fully autonomous technology becomes weaponized," the report's lead author said.

The report was released ahead of the mid-April UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems in Geneva, where the moral aspects of autonomous weapons will be discussed.

The concept of "killer robots" represents a technological leap beyond remote-controlled drones, currently actively used by the world's most technologically advanced armies.

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