IN CONJUNCTION WITH the International Day of Human Fraternity, the World Council of Churches, Pax Christi Northern California, and Soka Gakkai International have issued a joint statement, entitled ‘A Plea for Preserving Our Shared Humanity’, which expresses concern over the insidious development of weapons systems that lack meaningful human control.

“Our shared belief in the inalienable dignity of the human person and the inestimable worth of human life demands our vigilance toward new forms of military technology that mediate the use of lethal force, especially in armed conflict and policing”, reads the statement. “An urgent and firm rejection of the development of fully autonomous weapons is essential to preserving our shared humanity.”

The statement urges that the human person must never be reduced to a set of numbers. “Machine learning that processes vast amounts of digital information tends to replicate existing biases, causing a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations”, reads the statement. “Fully autonomous weapons would lower the threshold for international armed conflict, and they could also be used for domestic terrorism, insurrection, policing and border-control.”

The statement calls on all UN member states and all people of goodwill to commit to preserving meaningful human control over the use of force.

“As our technological evolution outpaces our ethical evolution, we must place firm limits on emerging technologies that undermine the ties that bind us as members of a single human family”, the statement concludes.

Read the full Interfaith Statement on Killer Robots (February, 2021).

Source: World Council of Churches