UN meetings ended with US & Russia avoiding formal talks to ban AI enabled killer robots

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The United States and Russia were among a small number of countries that blocked the U.N. from moving toward talks on whether to ban so-called killer robots.

As per Politico, a week of UN meetings in Geneva, concluded in the early hours of Saturday. During the meetings a group at the United Nations’ Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) discussed whether to take negotiations on fully autonomous weapons powered by artificial intelligence to a formal level that could lead to a treaty banning them.

However, a list of non-binding recommendations that participating countries agreed on, dodged the question of whether to move on to formal negotiations.

Mary Wareham, coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, said that Russia, the U.S., South Korea, Israel and Australia were the main countries to oppose this call.

“It’s a disappointment, of course, that a small minority of large military powers can hold back the will of the majority,” she said.

Mary Wareham’s group represents 75 non-governmental organizations in 32 countries fighting for a ban on weapons that use AI technology to choose their targets.

It says 26 countries endorse a full ban on the weapons. Throughout the meeting, many of those countries reiterated their call for strong regulation, pushing for the U.N. to start formal negotiations at least by next year.

Doing so will be the next step toward binding international rules but opponents of the ban stood firm. The document issued at the end of the meeting recommends that non-binding talks should continue.

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