The Guardian reports that the UK and the US are trying to "water down" an agreement on autonomous weapons so that any current system currently being deployed during discussions will not be affected by a proposed ban on "killer robots."
No fully autonomous weapons are yet in use, but many semi-autonomous lethal precursors are in development. One such weapon is the South Korean sentry robot SGR-1, which patrols the country’s border with North Korea and detects intruders as far as two miles away using heat and light sensors.
The robots are armed with machine guns and although currently controlled by humans from a distance, they are reportedly capable of making a decision to kill without human intervention.
Israel is deploying machine-gun turrets along its border with the Gaza Strip to target Palestinian infiltrators automatically. And the UK’s Taranis fighter jet flies autonomously and can identify and locate enemies. Although it does not yet act completely autonomously, it was described by a defence procurement minister as having “almost no need for operator input”.
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