Last week’s meeting of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems had been urged to introduce a ban on autonomous killing machines. However – perhaps unsurprisingly – there was no consensus to introduce such a ban.
A complete ban was backed by 26 countries. However the proposal was blocked by Australia, Israel, Russia, South Korea and the USA; some of these states are known to be working on autonomous military robots and expressed the desire to continue doing so.
Other states oppose a ban on the grounds of “they’ve got them, so we need them”, an argument reminiscent of the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) strategy during the Cold War era.
The conference ended with a simple agreement to continue exploring options for future work.