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  • Humans should always be accountable for life or death decisions 
  • Autonomous weapons raise fundamental question of human control 
  • International ban is needed 

Weapons without meaningful human control over selecting and attacking targets should be banned before it is too late, stressed MEPs on Wednesday.

MEPs note that some countries and industries are reportedly developing lethal autonomous weapon systems, also known as “killer robots”, ranging from “missiles capable of selective targeting to learning machines with cognitive skills to decide whom, when and where to fight”. It raises fundamental ethical and legal questions of human control, in particular with regard to critical functions such as target selection and engagement, they say.

The resolution stresses that “machines cannot make human-like decisions”, because it is humans who remain accountable for life or death decisions.

MEPs call on EU policy chief Federica Mogherini, the member states and the Council to agree on a common position on lethal autonomous weapon systems that ensures meaningful human control over their critical functions and to speak with one voice in different international forums.

MEPs want to prevent the development and production of these weapons, advocating an international ban and asking EU policy chief Mogherini, the member states and the Council to start international talks on this.

The resolution on banning autonomous weapon systems was passed by 566 votes to 47, with 73 abstentions.