A science fiction nightmare where artificial intelligence-powered drones select and eliminate targets with no human oversight is unfolding. A recent United Nations Security Council report found that an autonomous weaponized drone hunted down and attacked a person without being specifically ordered to in Libya last year.
No robot should ever be making life-or-death decisions, but over 130 military weapons systems across the globe can track targets autonomously — crossing moral and ethical boundaries, creating huge accountability gaps, and ceding critical decision-making power to machines.
But hawks in Washington are already pushing President Biden to invest in autonomous weapons to “compete” with China and Russia — a decision that could set off a global autonomous weapons arms race.
Public opposition to these weapons is growing. That means it’s time for us to get LOUD. President Biden has a chance to show bold international leadership by announcing his support for an international treaty to ban autonomous weapons systems and immediately prohibiting the U.S. military from using these weapons.