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Killer robots are a 'grave threat to humanity' and should be banned, the world's largest gathering of scientists was told.
As yet, robot soldiers and security guards armed with lethal weapons are largely science fiction concepts.
Advances - Intelligence - Mean - Matter - Time
But advances in artificial intelligence mean it is only a matter of time before robots with the power to select and attack targets without human input become widespread.
Scientists and human rights campaigners told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington DC lethal droids able to select targets without human help represent the 'third revolution' in warfare after gun powder and nuclear weapons.
Agreements - Use - Landmines - Agreements - Killers
Just as international agreements greatly restricted the use of landmines, similar international agreements should be used to prevent robotic killers becoming established.
Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, co-ordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots said: 'Public sentiment is hardening against the prospect of fully autonomous weapons.
Leadership - Treaty - Weapons
'Bold political leadership is needed for a new treaty to preemptively ban these weapons systems.'
Support for a ban comes from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has called lethal autonomous weapons systems 'politically unacceptable and morally repugnant'.
Poll - IPSOS - Mori - Countries - UK
A poll by IPSOS Mori in 26 countries including the UK found 61 per cent of respondents opposed the use of lethal autonomous weapons.
Around 22 percent support such use and 17 percent said they were not sure. In a near-identical...
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The beatings will continue until moral improves.