If We Want to Regulate Autonomous Weapons, We Must Move Past Calling Them “Killer Robots”



We must not eliminate the most important variable in today’s systems — the humans who design, maintain and manage them.

Straight out of defense labs, autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons are already in use, but there’s no overarching agreement among key stakeholders on how to control their implementation and diffusion. Unlike nuclear or biological weapons whose proliferation have been largely controlled, autonomous weapons pose some tricky problems.

The first is the absence of an international treaty. The second is the comparative ease by which autonomous weapons can be developed. Nuclear weapons are hard. The nine countries with nuclear weapons have achieved this with multi-decade projects backed substantially by state resources and administrative capacity.

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