What is it about?

Autonomous weapons technologies, which rely on artificial intelligence, are advancing rapidly and without sufficient public debate or accountability. Oversight of increased autonomy in warfare is critically important because this deadly technology is likely to proliferate rapidly, enhance terrorist tactics, empower authoritarian rulers, undermine democratic peace, and is vulnerable to bias, hacking, and malfunction. The top competitors in this arms race are the United States, China, Russia, South Korea, and the European Union.

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Why is it important?

As United Nations member states have made little progress in discussions of lethal autonomous weapons systems (AWS) over the last 5 years, the nature of warfare is transforming before our eyes. This change is occurring without proper accountability or public scrutiny as a handful of countries continue to make massive investments in increasing the autonomy of their weapons systems paired with advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Greater debate is urgently needed as lethal AWS are likely to proliferate rapidly, enhance terrorist tactics, empower authoritarian rulers, undermine democratic peace, and are vulnerable to bias, hacking, and malfunction. A proper public debate concerning the ramifications of ‘killer robots’ should start in earnest.

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This page is a summary of: The Artificial Intelligence Arms Race: Trends and World Leaders in Autonomous Weapons Development, Global Policy, September 2019, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1758-5899.12713.
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