UNITED NATIONS (TheBlaze/AP) -- A draft United Nations report says that killer robots that can attack targets without any human input "should not have the power of life and death over human beings."
It deals with legal and philosophical issues of giving robots lethal powers over humans, echoing the "Terminator" movies and countless other science fiction novels and films.
In this film publicity image released by Warner Bros., Christian Bale is shown in a scene from, "Terminator Salvation." (Photo: AP/Warner Bros., Richard Foreman)
The report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission dated April 9 but published online this week calls for a worldwide moratorium on testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use of killer robots.
Report author Christof Heyns, a U.N. human rights lawyer, calls them "Lethal autonomous robotics" (LARs) and says: "Decisions over life and death in armed conflict may require compassion and intuition. Humans - while they are fallible - at least might possess these qualities, whereas robots definitely do not."
The reports' conclusion says LARs have the potential to be "tireless war machines, ready for deployment at the push of a button, pose the danger of permanent (if low-level) armed conflict, obviating the opportunity for post-war reconstruction."
Heyns wrote that while they could be made to comply with laws, if used with human soldiers, he doesn't think there is enough information or regulation currently to allow their creation or testing yet.
He cited experience with drones as being an indication that there will should to be a considerable amount of transparency and accountability with this technology from the very beginning. The moratorium, he said, is need to "prevent steps from being taken that may be difficult to reverse later... ."
In the mean time, Heyns wrote that an international body needs to be established to monitor LARs among other measures.
Read the draft report here.