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Legal experts and diplomats urge tighter rules to rein in ‘killer robots’

14th November 2021 - 09:45 GMT | by Flavia Camargos Pereira in Kansas City

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Should ‘killer robots' such as armed UAVs be brought more firmly under the umbrella of international humanitarian law? (Photo: USAF)

Have autonomous military capabilities outpaced the scope of international humanitarian law to control them?

Militaries around the world are increasingly looking to develop or acquire autonomous weapons, aware of the operational advantages these systems bring to frontline troops — but concerns remain over the danger to non-combatants from armed uncrewed systems, and how best to bring those systems under the rule of international law.

Today, militaries tend to employ autonomous weapon systems mainly against defined military targets and for limited periods of time, away from urban population centres.

However, as noted by the International Committee of the Red Cross in August 2021, ‘the use of artificial intelligence and machine-learning software to control the critical functions …

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