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Time for an international convention on robotic weapons

August 5, 2009

The estimable Professor Noel Sharkey is calling today for a debate on the use of robotic weapon systems, like the UAVs that I have been covering sporadically. He’s right of course, but we need to go much further and much faster. With increasing numbers of counties turning to remote-controlled weapon systems, and the potential deployment of more independent or even ‘intelligent’ robots in war, hat we need is an international convention which will limit the development and use of automated weapon systems, with clear guidelines on what lines are not to be crossed. In the case of atomic, biological and chemical weapons these kinds of conventions have had mixed success, but we have had very few clear examples of the use of such weapons in international conflicts.

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