Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

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The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots launched in London in April 2013.[1]

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a coalition of non-governmental organizations who seek to pre-emptively ban lethal autonomous weapons.[2][3]


First launched in April 2013, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has urged governments and the United Nations to issue policy to outlaw the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems, also known as LAWS.[4] Several countries including Israel[citation needed], Russia,[5] South Korea[citation needed], the United States,[6] and the United Kingdom[7] oppose the call for a preemptive ban, and believe that existing international humanitarian law is sufficient enough regulation for this area.

In December 2018, a global Ipsos poll quantified growing public opposition to fully autonomous weapons. It found that 61% of adults surveyed across 26 countries oppose the use of lethal autonomous weapons systems. Two-thirds of those opposed thought these weapons would “cross a moral line because machines should not be allowed to kill," and more than half said the weapons would be “unaccountable."[8] A similar study across 23 countries was conducted in January 2017, which showed 56% of respondents were opposed to the use of these weapons.[9]

In November 2018, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for a ban on killer robots, stating, "For me there is a message that is very clear – machines that have the power and the discretion to take human lives are politically unacceptable, are morally repugnant, and should be banned by international law."[10]

In July 2018, over 200 technology companies and 3,000 individuals signed a public pledge to "not participate nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons."[11] In July 2015, over 1,000 experts in artificial intelligence signed on to a letter warning of the threat of an arms race in military artificial intelligence and calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. The letter was presented in Buenos Aires at the 24th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-15) and was co-signed by Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn and Google DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis, among others.[12][13]

In June 2018, Kate Conger, then a journalist for Gizmodo and now with the New York Times, revealed Google's involvement in Project Maven, a US Department of Defense-funded program that sought to autonomously process video footage shot by surveillance drones.[14] Several Google employees resigned over the project, and 4,000 other employees sent a letter to Sundar Pichai, the company's chief executive, protesting Google's involvement in the project and demanding that Google not "build warfare technology."[15] Facing internal pressure and public scrutiny, Google released a set of Ethical Principles for AI which included a pledge to not develop artificial intelligence for use in weapons and promised not to renew the Maven contract after it expires in 2019.[16]

The campaign won the Ypres Peace Prize in 2020[17][18] and was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian MP Audun Lysbakken.[19][20]

Stop Killer Robots are due to release a documentary called Immoral Code[21] in May 2022 on the subject of automation and killer robots. The film is due to premiere at Prince Charles Cinema in London's Leicester Square and examines whether there are situations where it’s morally and socially acceptable to take life, and importantly - would a computer know the difference?

Steering committee members[edit]

The full membership list of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is available on their website.[22]

Countries calling for a prohibition on fully autonomous weapons[edit]

  1. Pakistan on 30 May 2013[23]
  2. Ecuador on 13 May 2014[24]
  3. Egypt on 13 May 2014[25]
  4. Holy See on 13 May 2014[26]
  5. Cuba on 16 May 2014
  6. Ghana on 16 April 2015[27]
  7. Bolivia on 17 April 2015 
  8. State of Palestine on 13 November 2015 
  9. Zimbabwe on 12 November 2015 [28]
  10. Algeria on 11 April 2016[29]
  11. Costa Rica on 11 April 2016[30]
  12. Mexico on 13 April 2016[31]
  13. Chile on 14 April 2016[32]
  14. Nicaragua on 14 April 2016
  15. Panama on 12 December 2016
  16. Peru on 12 December 2016
  17. Argentina on 12 December 2016
  18. Venezuela on 13 December 2016
  19. Guatemala on 13 December 2016
  20. Brazil on 13 November 2017
  21. Iraq on 13 November 2017
  22. Uganda on 17 November 2017
  23. Austria on 9 April 2018
  24. Djibouti on 13 April 2018
  25. Colombia on 13 April 2018
  26. El Salvador on 22 November 2018
  27. Morocco on 22 November 2018[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Killer Robots". Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  2. ^ Horowitz, Michael; Scharre, Paul (19 November 2014). "Do Killer Robots Save Lives?". Politico. Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  3. ^ Baum, Seth (22 February 2015). "Stopping killer robots and other future threats". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  4. ^ McVeigh, Tracey (23 February 2013). "Killer robots must be stopped, say campaigners". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  5. ^ KLARE, MICHAEL (2018). "U.S., Russia Impede Steps to Ban 'Killer Robots'". Arms Control Today. 48 (8): 31–33. ISSN 0196-125X. JSTOR 90025262.
  6. ^ KLARE, MICHAEL (2018). "U.S., Russia Impede Steps to Ban 'Killer Robots'". Arms Control Today. 48 (8): 31–33. ISSN 0196-125X. JSTOR 90025262.
  7. ^ Bowcott, Owen (28 July 2015). "UK opposes international ban on developing 'killer robots'". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Six in Ten (61%) Respondents Across 26 Countries Oppose the Use of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems". Ipsos. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  9. ^ "Three in Ten Americans Support Using Autonomous Weapons". Ipsos. February 7, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "Remarks at "Web Summit"". United Nations Secretary-General. 2018-11-08. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  11. ^ "Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge". Future of Life Institute. 6 June 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  12. ^ Gibbs, Samuel (27 July 2015). "Musk, Wozniak and Hawking urge ban on warfare AI and autonomous weapons". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  13. ^ Zakrzewski, Cat (27 July 2015). "Musk, Hawking Warn of Artificial Intelligence Weapons". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  14. ^ Conger, Kate (6 March 2018). "Google Is Helping the Pentagon Build AI for Drones". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  15. ^ Shane, Scott; Wakabayashi, Daisuke (2018-04-04). "'The Business of War': Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  16. ^ "AI at Google: our principles". Google. 2018-06-07. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  17. ^ "Children Vote to Stop Killer Robots". Human Rights Watch. 2020-06-09. Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  18. ^ "Swiss Philanthropy Foundation"Campaign to Stop Killer Robots" wins the Ypres Peace Prize 2020 - Swiss Philanthropy Foundation". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  19. ^ "Flere fredsprisforslag før fristen gikk ut". Aftenposten. Norwegian News Agency. 31 January 2021.
  20. ^ "Hektisk nomineringsaktivitet før fredsprisfrist". Dagsavisen. 31 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Immoral Code - A film by Stop Killer Robots". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  22. ^ "The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots".
  23. ^ "Statement by Pakistan" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Statement of Ecuador" (PDF).
  25. ^ "Statement of Egypt" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Statement of the Holy See" (PDF).
  27. ^ "Statement of Ghana" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Statement of Zimbabwe" (PDF).
  29. ^ "Statement of Algeria" (PDF).
  30. ^ "Statement of Costa Rica" (PDF).
  31. ^ "Statement of Mexico" (PDF).
  32. ^ "Statement of Chile" (PDF).
  33. ^ "Statement by Morocco" (PDF).

External links[edit]