For several years, civil society groups have been calling for a ban on what they call “killer robots”. Scores of technologists have lent their voice to the cause. Some two dozen governments now support a ban and several others would like to see some kind of international regulation.
Yet the latest talks on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” wrapped up last month with no agreement on a ban. The Group of Governmental Experts meeting, convened in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, did not even clearly proceed towards one. The outcome was a decision to continue discussions next year.
Those supporting a ban are not impressed. But the reasons for the failure to reach agreement on the way forward are complex.
Associate Professor Rain Liivoja writes for The Conversation.