Ban Use of Autonomous Weaponry

Target: United States Department of Defense

Goal: To call for legislation that restricts utilization of fully autonomous weapons

In November 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense passed legislation requiring some degree of human intervention in the utilization of all kinds of lethal force. This directive was instituted as an answer to questions surrounding the use of autonomous weaponry. Essentially, this describes any kind of weapon that makes “decisions” without the involvement of a human mind. Because of the increasing usage of semi-autonomous systems, such as drones, specific guidelines need to be implemented to stem the possible use of fully autonomous sources. It is readily apparent that any kind of system that acts without human intervention is problematic on several fronts.

In response to the passage of the legislation in 2012, Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch remarked that, “This policy shows that the United States shares our concern that fully autonomous weapons could endanger civilians in many ways. Humans should never delegate to machines the power to make life-and-death decisions on the battlefield. US policy should lay the basis for a permanent, comprehensive ban on fully autonomous weapons.”

It is clear that autonomous weaponry would infringe on a number of human rights. Furthermore, when abuses would undoubtedly arise, who would be to blame? No individual is operating the machinery. The technology poses all kinds of new questions.

Humanitarian groups already have serious issues with the use of semi-autonomous systems. The human rights encroachments stimulated by the utilization of autonomous systems would be immense. It would be far more favorable to quickly vanquish any potential that this technology may beckon by proactively passing a legislative ban on the utilization of this system prior to its establishment.

Sign below to call for legislation that bans the use of any kind of autonomous defense system.


Dear Department of Defense,

While the passage of the legislation restricting the use of autonomous military systems was a step in the right direction, it opens itself up to exploitation through its many loop-holes. A strictly worded restriction of the use of any kind of autonomous weaponry is what is necessary in order to ban the utilization of this technology.

Drones, a semi-autonomous system, are already questionable and pose serious threats to numerous human rights. Not to mention the inordinate amount of civilians killed by this technology. Clearly, an autonomous source would be much worse, and philosophically, would pose serious questions that may not be answerable under our rigid system of law.


[Your Name Here]


Photo Credit: Department of Defense

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