Call for Global Ban as Poll Shows Overwhelming Public Opposition to 'Horrifying' Killer Robots

World leaders have shown little leadership in moving to ban autonomous weapons that would require no human involvement when selecting and killing targets, but a new survey shows that the global population overwhelmingly opposes the development of such “killer robots.”

Commissioned by the Campaign to Ban Killer Robots, a new poll released Tuesday by Ipsos MORI asked between 500 and 1,000 people in each of the 26 countries it surveyed whether they approved of autonomous weapons, and found that three in five respondents were vehemently against the proposal.

“This poll shows that the states blocking a ban on killer robots are totally out of step with public opinion. Governments should be protecting people from the myriad risks that killer robots pose.” —Rasha Abdul Rahim, Amnesty Tech

The survey showed that public opposition has grown considerably since January 2017, when just 56 percent of respondents to a similar poll opposed the development of killer robots.

In the new poll, people in countries around the world objected to autonomous killing machines due to concerns that they would be “unaccountable” for their actions, while two-thirds of respondents also said they opposed the development of weapons which they believe would “cross a moral line.”

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But as noted by Amnesty International, which has joined with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots to push for an international ban on autonomous weapons, world leaders are not listening.

“This poll shows that the states blocking a ban on killer robots are totally out of step with public opinion. Governments should be protecting people from the myriad risks that killer robots pose,” said Rasha Abdul Rahim, acting deputy director of Amnesty Tech.

Instead, Abdul Rahim added, “governments should take note of this poll and urgently begin negotiating a new treaty to prohibit these horrifying weapons.”

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