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Activists Call for an International Ban on Killer Robots



From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

An international coalition is calling for a ban on fully autonomous weapons, known as "killer robots." The 45-member coalition recently proposed the ban to governments at a meeting of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots asked the U.N. group to add fully autonomous weapons to its work program in 2014.

Scientists have yet to develop fully autonomous weapons or "killer robots". But, technology is moving toward increasing autonomy. Such weapons would identify and attack targets without human assistance.

Noel Sharkey is a founding member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. He also chairs the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. He says autonomous weapons should be banned.

Steve Goose is a member of the campaign, he also directs the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch, a rights group. He warns the killer robots will become a reality unless governments act now to ban them. He says the world should oppose the weapons system that would be able to identify and attack targets mechanically.

He believes such a system crosses a basic moral and ethical line.

Steve Goose adds that in recent months, fully autonomous weapons have gone from a little known issue to one that commands worldwide attention. He says that since May of 2013, 34 countries have openly expressed concern about the dangers the weapons present.

Mr. Goose believes that killer robots could become the second weapon to be banned before it is ever used in battle. The first to be banned was the blinding laser.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.