Chris Jenks

Document Type



By casting into the indeterminate future and projecting visions of so-called killer robots, The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (The Campaign) has incited moral panic in an attempt to stimulate a discussion—and ultimately a ban—on lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS). The real concern is the weapon systems’ ability to select and engage targets without human intervention. However, weapons systems that perform these functions have already been employed internationally since 1980 and The Campaign has been unable to specify which of the current systems its proposed ban should include. This article explains autonomy in general and as applied to weapons systems. It examines both The Campaign’s primary source documents and reports on LAWS by the Human Rights Watch and a United Nations Special Rapporteur. Likewise, it discusses the flaws with The Campaign’s current approach and proposes an alternative moratorium on LAWS designed primarily to lethally target personnel.