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Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

Slaughterbots are already here.

Lethal autonomous weapons have now been used on the battlefield. We must act to secure a prohibition of these weapons.

Policy advocacy

The push to prohibit Slaughterbots

Slaughterbots, also called ‘lethal autonomous weapons systems’ or ‘killer robots’, are weapons that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify, select, and kill human targets without human intervention. Though these weapons sound futuristic, reports of their use are starting to mount up. The Future of Life Institute considers slaughterbots to be both immoral and a major threat to global security.

The FLI policy team encourages the formation of new international law on autonomous weapons. Alongside a majority of the world’s states, FLI argues that some autonomous weapons must be banned - specifically, those which target humans, which are highly unpredictable, or which function beyond meaningful human control. FLI, alongside the Red Cross, calls for other autonomous weapons - those that can be meaningfully controlled by humans - to be regulated.
View the ICRC's position

Our videos

Raising the alarm on autonomous weapons

We have produced two short films depicting a world in which autonomous weapons have been allowed to proliferate - the world we’re headed towards. Watch them and a number of other videos we have produced in the past below:

Learn more

Discover how autonomous weapons are shaping our world.

We have created a website dedicated to shedding light on the issue of lethal autonomous weapons, answering questions like:
What are lethal autonomous weapons?
How do lethal autonomous weapons pose a risk?
What can be done to reduce the risks?
Open letters

Take a stand.

Join tens of thousands in taking a stand against lethal autonomous weapons by signing our pledge and/or open letter.

Autonomous Weapons Open Letter: AI & Robotics Researchers

Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.
February 9, 2016

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to play an increasing role in military systems. There is an urgent opportunity and necessity for citizens, policymakers, and leaders to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI. In this light, we the undersigned agree that the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine.
June 6, 2018

Autonomous Weapons Open Letter: Global Health Community

Given our commitment to do no harm, the global health community has a long history of successful advocacy against inhumane weapons, and the World and American Medical Associations have called for bans on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Now, recent advances in artificial intelligence have brought us to the brink of a new arms race in lethal autonomous weapons.
March 13, 2019
Our content

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An introduction to the issue of Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Some of the most advanced national military programs are beginning to implement artificial intelligence (AI) into their weapons, essentially making them 'smart'. This means these weapons will soon be making critical decisions by themselves - perhaps even deciding who lives and who dies.
November 30, 2021

Why support a ban on Autonomous weapons?

Why support a ban on Autonomous weapons? Artificial Intelligence (AI) will soon become the most powerful technology ever created. It […]
October 26, 2021

Top Myths and Facts on Human Control of Autonomous Weapons

Top Myths and Facts on Human Control of Autonomous Weapons There are a number of myths surrounding the issue of […]
October 10, 2020

FLI's Position on Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Described as the third revolution in warfare after gunpowder and nuclear weapons, lethal autonomous weapons (AWS) are weapon systems that […]
June 5, 2020
Our work

Other projects in this area

We work on a range of projects across a few key areas. See some of our other projects in this area of work:

UK AI Safety Summit

On November 1-2, the United Kingdom will convene the first ever global government meeting focussed on AI Safety. In the run-up to the summit, FLI has produced and published a document outlining key recommendations.

Strengthening the European AI Act

Our key recommendations include broadening the Act’s scope to regulate general purpose systems and extending the definition of prohibited manipulation to include any type of manipulatory technique, and manipulation that causes societal harm.

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