Activists ask in Buenos Aires the ban on "killer robots"

Headed by the Nobel Peace Prize, Jody Williams, a group of activists members of "The Campaign to Stop the Killer Robots" called on Wednesday in Buenos Aires the global ban on this type of cyber weapons.

"Killer robots" means weapons programmed with algorithms that allow you to detect the predetermined targets automatically, unlike drones, which need a human to pilot them and activate the attack mechanisms.

Jody Williams was optimistic about the progress that could be achieved in the two days that campaign members will spend in Buenos Aires, and called, in declarations to Efe, to create an area free of killer robots in Central and South America, since countries like Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica and Argentina were already against the use of this weaponry.


Apart from the moral problem that for her it means that a robot can decide to kill someone without a person mediating the decision, the former Google engineer and member of the campaign, Laura Nolan, said that there are many doubts about the possibility of designing robots with sufficient capacity to comply with international humanitarian laws.

To comply with this legislation, Nolan stressed that it is necessary to make many judgments of a complexity that only one person can carry out, since there is no software capable of making "abstract decisions" based on the context.

Likewise, the expert gave as an example the difficulties that exist to develop autonomous driving, a process based on going from a point A to a point B respecting a series of signals and avoiding a series of obstacles and in which companies have invested millions in the last prototypes.

Robots would not only have to do this process, Nolan explained, but they should also know how to adapt to the different climates where they operate and know how to make decisions that would allow them, for example, to distinguish a target from a civilian.

"In one place, a convoy could be equivalent to combatants, but in another, a group of vehicles with people may be participating in a funeral rite," the expert summed up.

The engineer warned of the "real danger" that countries that are not really interested in these problems begin to use these weapons.

Although he stressed that most of these military projects are secret, the former Google employee gave an example of advanced development a Turkish drone that can carry 1.5 kilograms of explosive and that has a built-in facial recognition device to identify its objective.


For Jody Williams, the appearance of the killer robots would also serve to "lower" the political costs of war for the leaders, since they would not have to suffer "the pressure of families because their children are dead in the war."

The Nobel Prize stressed that supporters of this armament speak of "cleaner wars", but believes that this will only be so in the case of leading countries in the war industry such as the United States, Russia and China, while in other territories they will be targets of machines that will "kill civilians."

Williams, who won the Nobel Prize for his work in the campaign of cluster mines and bombs, described the appearance of this type of weaponry as "a third arms revolution" and called on everyone present to act in their countries to declare themselves " free of killer robots. "


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