I'm a pacifist, so why don't I support the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots?

A new campaign is calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. But a ban is not the solution – neither is inflaming the public with dystopian visions of the future

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has called on the UN to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons: those that can identify, track and attack targets without meaningful human oversight. On Monday, the group released a sensationalist video, supported by some prominent artificial intelligence researchers, depicting a dystopian future in which such machines run wild.

I am gratified that my colleagues are volunteering their efforts to ensure beneficial uses of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. But I am unconvinced of the effectiveness of the campaign beyond a symbolic gesture. Even though I identify myself strongly as a pacifist, I have reservations about signing up to the proposed ban. I am not alone in this predicament.

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