Inter-faith statement on killer robots

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“Protect Us All” from this Threat to Humanity: An Inter-faith Call for Urgent United Action Against Killer Robots 

Fifteen Christian, Buddhist and Muslim organizations including Pax Christi International have issued an inter-faith appeal to “ban autonomous weapons that target people or cannot be used with meaningful human control.”  The inter-faith call was made to governments in a treaty which bans especially indiscriminate weapons.

A few states with the biggest militaries oppose a ban.  An expert meeting 12-19 May 2023 at the United Nations in Geneva failed to overcome their opposition to any legally binding controls. Ten years of extensive debate on lethal autonomous weapons has clarified the threats they pose.  But remedial action has been blocked, year after year.

“Our different faith traditions teach a profound respect for life,” the appeal says.  “Digital dehumanization,” which reduces humans to data points for automated attacks, “is fundamentally repulsive to all people who share a belief in the inalienable dignity of the human person and the inestimable worth of human life.”

“Our faith-based conviction is that machines will never have human consciousness or awareness.”  PCI and the other groups issuing the statement are part of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

A growing majority of states (now 90) plus civil society organizations, academics and scientists are calling for legally binding prohibitions and regulations on autonomous weapons.  The goal is “to protect us all,” the faith groups note,” from this grave threat to humanity.”

Nevertheless, Russia once again took the lead in blocking progress by the Group of Governmental Experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. “A handful of highly militarised States have no intention of making progress towards a legally binding international framework,” the Stop Killer Robots campaign said after two week-long sessions of the expert group this year.

Full statement available here

Cover picture: Wolfgang Kumm/DPA/AFP via Getty Images