Twenty Nobel peace laureates, including the six laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, have issued a joint statement calling for a preemptive ban against killer robots—fully autonomous weapons that select targets and kill people without any human intervention.
In the statement the laureates express concern that removing humans from the killing equation could make going to war easier. The laureates also note that using killer robots could shift the burden of armed conflict on to civilians. The challenge of accountability in war zones and compliance with the laws of war are also raised as issues that leaders must address when considering killer robots. The laureates applaud the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots—a global coalition of 51 non-governmental organizations—and confirm their wholehearted support of its goal to ban fully autonomous weapons.
The Nobel peace laureates have released their statement on the eve of the first-ever multilateral talks on killer robots, taking place this week at the United Nations in Geneva. The Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) is hosting a meeting of experts Tuesday, May 13 to Friday, May 16. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots will be present at the CCW to bring civil society’s concerns to world leaders and call for a ban on full autonomous weapons.