Military drone © sibsky2016 (shutterstock)
The international Catholic peace movement Pax Christi calls for the outlawing of autonomous weapons. Autonomous weapons can use algorithms to independently select and attack targets.
"We must not leave the decisions about life and death to computer algorithms!", explained Pax Christi Secretary General Christine Hoffmann on Tuesday in Berlin. The occasion is the start of the Geneva meeting of government experts on how to deal with lethal autonomous weapons systems.
Hoffmann called on Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) to take concrete steps toward international agreements to outlaw these weapons. Such artificial intelligence weapon systems can independently select enemy targets and decide on combat measures.
In the coalition agreement, the German government advocates outlawing, Pax Christi added. However, it is feared that there will be no breakthrough in the current talks in Geneva either. It is possible that states where such weapons systems are already being developed and tested "are not interested in a negotiated outcome," Hoffmann said. "Voluntary and non-binding measures to control autonomous weapons, in the form of a 'political declaration' or a 'code of conduct,' are more likely to legitimize lethal autonomous weapons than to outlaw them."
Possibility of prohibition available
He said the international community is at a crossroads in the discussion of these new weapons systems. The importance of the debate goes beyond the ie of lethal autonomous weapons systems because it will influence negotiations on other emerging weapons systems. Similar reservations would be discussed there as currently with LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems).
If regulation of lethal autonomous weapons systems fails, then there is a threat of largely unregulated development of other weapons systems as well, Pax Christi explained. That an agreement is possible is shown by the year 1995, when the states agreed on a ban of laser-blinding weapons before they were used.