The “Slaughterbots” video was created by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an international coalition working to ban autonomous weapons.

“No nation will be safe, no matter how powerful,” said Clearpath Robotics CEO Ryan Gariepy in a statement.


Skype co-founder and FLI member Jaan Tallinn told Gizmodo that weapons that do not require human operators are the “perfect tool” for terrorists and rogue states. “By definition,” he said, “they don’t require much manpower and their use will likely be hard to attribute (just like the cyberattacks are difficult to attribute today).”

“Ironically, by supporting the development of autonomous weapons,” added Tallinn, “the existing military powers might end up handing over their power to non-state actors and fringe groups.”


The signatories of the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge further urged the UN, which will meet on the issue of autonomous weapons in August, to develop a commitment between countries that will lead to their prohibition.

The full text of the pledge is below:

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. There is a moral component to this position, that we should not allow machines to make life-taking decisions for which others – or nobody – will be culpable. There is also a powerful pragmatic argument: lethal autonomous weapons, selecting and engaging targets without human intervention, would be dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual. Thousands of AI researchers agree that by removing the risk, attributability, and difficulty of taking human lives, lethal autonomous weapons could become powerful instruments of violence and oppression, especially when linked to surveillance and data systems. Moreover, lethal autonomous weapons have characteristics quite different from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the unilateral actions of a single group could too easily spark an arms race that the international community lacks the technical tools and global governance systems to manage. Stigmatizing and preventing such an arms race should be a high priority for national and global security.

We, the undersigned, call upon governments and government leaders to create a future with strong international norms, regulations and laws against lethal autonomous weapons. These currently being absent, we opt to hold ourselves to a high standard: we will neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons. We ask that technology companies and organizations, as well as leaders, policymakers, and other individuals, join us in this pledge.


Additional reporting by George Dvorsky.