Skip to content

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

are here

Lethal autonomous weapons have now been used on the battlefield. We must act to secure a prohibition of these weapons.
Just launched
Autonomous Weapons Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on the autonomous weapons space with a monthly newsletter covering policymaking efforts, weapons systems technology, and more.

Sign up to the newsletter

FLI's Emilia Javorsky attending a panel at the 2024 Vienna Conference on Autonomous 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.

Mobilising countries behind a new treaty

The FLI policy team encourages the formation of a new treaty 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.

Read position of the Red Cross

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:
Playlist on YouTube

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?
Visit dedicated site

Autonomous Weapons Watch

Check out our new autonomous weapons database to discover the most concerning autonomous weapons being developed and sold today. With weapons covering land, air, and sea, our database reveals the scale of this technology today.

We will soon be providing quarterly trend reports on the AI weapons deing developed and used on the battlefield.

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

Related content

If you enjoyed this, you also might like:

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

There are a number of myths surrounding the issue of human control over Lethal autonomous weapons. Many people who wish […]
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 content
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:

Protecting Against Deepfakes

2024 is rapidly turning into the Year of Fake. As part of a growing coalition of concerned organizations, FLI is calling on lawmakers to take meaningful steps to disrupt the AI-driven deepfake supply chain.

AI Safety Summits

Governments are increasingly cooperating to ensure AI Safety. FLI supports and encourages these efforts.
Our work

Sign up for the Future of Life Institute newsletter

Join 40,000+ others receiving periodic updates on our work and cause areas.
cloudmagnifiercrossarrow-up linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram