The exercise is all the more difficult if the cinema has nourished the popular imagination with Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger, specialists do not all agree on the definition of what is an autonomous weapon.
Discussions will be held throughout this week on the shores of Lake Geneva, as part of the review conference of the United Nations Convention on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCAC), under the chairmanship of France.
As the experts, who negotiated fiercely all last week, failed to agree on recommendations, it will be up to the delegates to try to find common ground so as not to leave a cross. over eight years of discussions.
Especially since the subject resonates in public opinion, worried about developments in artificial intelligence. A mistrust reinforced by the discovery of racial or gender biases in many everyday algorithms.
The secretary general ofUN, Antonio Guterres, regrets that the experts could not agree.
must move forward quickly in its work on autonomous weapons that can designate targets and kill people without human intervention, Guterres said in a message to delegates, calling for
an ambitious plan for the future to establish restrictions on the use of certain types of autonomous weapons.
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In Geneva, States have the opportunity to
draw a red line against man-killing machines, the ultimate form of digital dehumanization, highlightedStop Killer Robots“,” text “:” Stop Killer Robots “}} ‘>Stop Killer Robots.
The ICRC – the guardian of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) enacted in the Geneva Conventions – calls on states to agree on the limits to be imposed on autonomous weapon systems
to ensure the protection of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law and the ethical acceptability of these systems.
A consensus difficult to obtain
If partially autonomous weapons already exist (decoys on military planes for example or close-range weapon systems which are the ultimate defense on many warships), truly autonomous systems on the battlefield, capable of fighting without human intervention, are still theoretical, if we are to believe most experts.
The problem – and the force – of the debates within theCCAC is that the Convention works by consensus, recently explained the French Ambassador, responsible for disarmament issues in Geneva, Yann Hwang.
An agreement reached within this framework would encompass
all major military powers and
when we discuss and negotiate, we are sure that everyone accepts the constraints, he stressed.
But consensus at the moment seems very difficult to achieve.
There are two groups of countries,
those who believe that it is necessary to prohibit in a preventive way (these weapons), including their development, for ethical reasons and then there are countries like France who think that the risks exist, but that they can be managed, underlines the French ambassador, who chairs the debates this week.
For France and many European countries, the ethical perspective is legitimate, but not sufficient to develop an arms control regulation, he adds, believing that
it is possible to bring these two visions together.
One of the difficulties is that the technologies involved are partly dual-use – military, but also civilian.
Traditionally, the Russians do not want to tie their hands in advance and the Americans want a non-binding text.
It should be known on Friday whether or not the states wish to continue discussions on this subject within the framework of theCCAC.