Human Rights Watch has released a 55-page report named "Stopping Killer Robots: Country Positions on Banning Fully Autonomous Weapons and Retaining Human Control." Can you guess what it's about? Correct! It's about the dangers of killer robots à la Terminator and Westworld.
Killer robots are, in fact, becoming quite real — which presents a problem for the average human being, whose sensitive, fleshy body can be torn through like so much tissue paper. To combat such a threat, the group reviewed the policies of 97 countries that have publicly stated their positions on autonomous weaponry. The report names thirty countries openly calling for a ban on killer robots: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China (who are against their "use" only, lol), Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, the Holy See, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the State of Palestine, Uganda, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
I understand how these nations came to this conclusion but it all seems quite unfair to me, a person who would totally like to be murdered by a robot.
I can't do that, Dave — I don't have a death wish, far from it, actually (though my lifestyle could make a very convincing case to the contrary). I simply don't understand why I'm allowed, neigh encouraged, to die from climate change, viral pandemics, unsafe drinking water, gun violence, lack of healthcare, war, drones, suicide from lack of mental healthcare, police brutality, addiction (especially opioids!), the consequences of government surveillance, and apparently onions, but we're suddenly taking an anti-robot murderer stance? I would vastly prefer to die via murder by a blood-thirsty robot to any of the above causes. At least there's some glory in it!
I robot, you robot, we all robot — Anyway, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a coalition of over 160 nongovernmental organizations in 65 countries advocating for full bans on this kind of technology. The good news for the coalition is that the vast majority of nations feel that human control and decision making should be core requirements to the legality of high-tech weaponry. Cowards.
"Removing human control from the use of force is now widely regarded as a grave threat to humanity that, like climate change, deserves urgent multilateral action," said Mary Wareham, the coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and the Arms Division Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch. "An international ban treaty is the only effective way to deal with the serious challenges raised by fully autonomous weapons."
"Many governments share the same serious concerns over permitting machines to take human life on the battlefield, and their desire for human control provides a sound basis for collective action,” she also added. "While the pandemic has delayed diplomacy, it shows the importance of being prepared and responding with urgency to existential threats to humanity, such as killer robots."
“It’s abundantly clear that retaining meaningful human control over the use of force is an ethical imperative, a legal necessity, and a moral obligation. All countries need to respond with urgency by opening negotiations on a new international ban treaty.”
I'll be back — The bad news for people who, for some ridiculous reason, think super cool robots shouldn't be allowed mercilessly hunt down human beings like so much dirt in a Roomba's path? There are two countries blocking the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons' decision to explicitly make Mechagodzilla illegal in order to protect their military's investments in artificial intelligence and autonomous weaponry. Can you guess who? That's right: Putin's "Ivan Drago" Russia and the kick-ass United States of America. Keeping the world as dangerous and exciting as possible, baby!