UN weighs laws for future 'killer robots'

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

GENEVA (AP) — Diplomats are urging new international laws to govern the use of "killer robots" if the technology becomes reality someday.

The debate is the first to be held at the United Nations about limits and responsibilities of so-called lethal autonomous weapons systems that could go beyond human-directed drones.

At the start Tuesday of a four-day meeting, many nations said existing laws won't cover future weapons that could decide on targets without human intervention.

U.S. diplomat and legal adviser Stephen Townley cautioned the meeting against trying to "pre-judge" the uses of emerging technologies.

But Michael Moeller, acting head of the U.N.'s European headquarters in Geneva, urged the adoption of pre-emptive new laws to ensure human control, because "all too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened."