“I can build you a killer robot in just two weeks,” says Noel Sharkey as he leans forward with a warning gaze. The white-haired English professor is a renowned specialist for robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). He was in Berlin to participate in an international meeting of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots that ended on Friday.
Sharkey objects to talking about “lethal autonomous weapons systems” (LAWs) as if they were something out a science-fiction novel. Fully autonomous weapons systems are in fact a well-established reality, he says, adding that there is no need to argue about the definition thereof: These are weapons that seek, select and attack targets on their own.