‘Killer robots’ are coming, and UN is worried

humanoid robot
humanoid robot
Harvard Law School’s Bonnie Docherty attended the U.N General Assembly where the first-ever resolution on “killer robots” was adopted. Credit: Bonnie Docherty

Long the stuff of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems, known as « killer robots, » are poised to become a reality, thanks to the rapid development of artificial intelligence.

In response,  have been intensifying calls for limits or even outright bans on their use. The U.N General Assembly in November adopted the first-ever resolution on these , which can select and attack targets without .

To shed light on the legal and  they raise, the Gazette interviewed Bonnie Docherty, lecturer on law at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), who attended some of the U.N. meetings. Docherty is also a senior researcher in the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.