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Friday, September 06, 2019, 15:00 - 16:00

Mary Wareham, Coordinator at Campaign to Stop Killer Robots / Advocacy Director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch

Language:The speech and Q & A will be in English

"Killer Robots: Why They Must Be Banned"

Robots will make our lives easier in an artificially intelligent future, but should this convenience extend to killer automated weapons that can decide by themselves who lives and who dies? Japan does not think so, and has repeatedly said it has no plans to develop such fully autonomous lethal robots. It is now one of the most vocal countries calling for global rules, and this year submitted a working paper to a United Nations Group of Governmental Experts meeting on the issue.

But the world is split over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed, and over how much human control is ethically and morally necessary for such weapons that may launch attacks solely based on deep learning and algorithms. The United States, United Kingdom and Russia are among those against a pre-emptive ban on the basis that there remains no global standard over "lethal autonomous weapons systems", arguing that acting prematurely could curtail military development using AI.

Mary Wareham is advocacy director of the arms division of Human Rights Watch and coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Founded in October 2012, the movement is a growing coalition of 113 non-government organisations across 57 countries that are lobbying for a ban. It argues that the world might be on the brink of a robotic arms race if killer robots are left unchecked, and that allowing fully autonomous killer robots will open a Pandora's box of issues ranging from the morality of relinquishing human judgement to a machine, and the burden of responsibility over any misuse.

Wareham is in Tokyo to speak at an International Committee of the Red Cross symposium and to meet with the Japanese government. She will come to the FCCJ to discuss killer robots, what needs to be done, and why Japan should take the lead in discussions against these weapons.

Doors open for TV crew only at 14:15, all others at 14:30. Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation. Livestreaming of press conferences are available on our website (

*Due to space restrictions, please note there will be a limited number of reservations to attend. FCCJ members, including TV cameras, will have priority for the reservation and seating/setting positions and one TV camera for affiliate networks.

Professional Activities Committee

Sep 06 19 PC  Mary Wareham010


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