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It's Judgment Day For Killer Robots at the ­nited Nations

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Arnold Schwarzenegger as a robot killer in 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day.'

The United Nations is meeting on "lethal autonomous weapons systems."

Credit: Carolco Pictures

The United Nations on Tuesday began its first-ever multinational convention on "lethal autonomous weapons systems." The meeting is taking place over three days in Geneva under the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which aims to ban or restrict conventional weapons considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or civilians.

The 117 member-states will attempt to define what an autonomous weapon is and whether it fits into the definition governed under the convention, and delve into legal and ethics questions. The meeting will hear from robotics, military, and human rights law experts, as well as from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which held a seminar on the issue in March.

The ICRC said in its report there was a sense of "deep discomfort with the idea of allowing machines to make life-and-death decisions on the battlefield with little or no human involvement."

Georgia Institute of Technology professor Ronald C. Arkin, who will participate in the meeting, believes autonomous weapons could reduce human casualties in war. However, he says the systems should not be deployed unless they can comply with international humanitarian law.

From The Wall Street Journal
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