Autonomous killer robots are probably good news

Vincent C. Müller, Thomas W. Simpson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Will future lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) or 'killer robots', be a threat to humanity? In this policy paper, we argue that they do not take responsibility away from humans; in fact they increase the ability to hold humans accountable for war crimes. Also, using LAWS in war, as compared to a war without them, would probably make wars a bit less bad through an overall reduction of human suffering, especially in civilians. Finally, the availability of LAWS would probably not increase the probability of war or other lethal conflict-especially as compared to extant remote-controlled weapons. The European Parliament and a UN special rapporteur have called for a moratorium or ban of LAWS, supported by the vast majority of writers and campaigners on the issue. The 'Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention at the United Nations' are presently discussing such a ban. However, the main arguments in favour of a ban are unsound. We are afraid of killer robots, but we should not be: They are probably good news.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociable Robots and the Future of Social Relations - Proceedings of Robo-Philosophy 2014
EditorsJohanna Seibt, Marco Norskov, Raul Hakli
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781614994794
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventRobo-Philosophy 2014: Sociable Robots and the Future of Social Relations - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 20 Aug 201423 Aug 2014

Publication series

NameFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications
ISSN (Print)0922-6389


ConferenceRobo-Philosophy 2014: Sociable Robots and the Future of Social Relations


  • just war requirements
  • killer robots
  • LAWS
  • policy recommendations on autonomous wapons
  • responsibility
  • utility considerations


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