Though technology allowing a pre-programmed robot to shoot to kill, or a tank to fire at a target with no human involvement is years away, a report called for a ban on such “killer robots”.
The report by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic was released as the United Nations kicked off a weeklong meeting on such weapons in Geneva.
The report says control of critical functions by humans during combat, including the selection of targets, saves lives and ensures compliance with international law.
“Now there is a real threat that humans would relinquish their control and delegate life-and-death decisions to machines,” said Bonnie Docherty , senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch.
According to the London based organisation Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the United States, China, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and Britain are moving toward systems that would give machines greater combat autonomy.
Humanoid robots to treat social malaise
Scientists have developed a system that enables a robot or computer avatar to help rehabilitate people suffering from social disorders such as social phobia or schizophrenia. The computer avatar, created to look and move like the patient, interacts with a patient while playing a version of the mirror game, in which two players try to copy each other’s motion whilst playing with balls that can move horizontally on a string.