During a parliamentary debate in the House of Lords, the UK Government repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility that the UK may deploy lethal autonomous weapons in the future.
At the dedicated discussion on autonomous weapons (also known as “killer robots”), members of the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservative parties all expressed concern around the development of autonomous weapons. Several parliamentarians, including Lord Coaker speaking for Labour and Baroness Smith speaking for the Liberal Democrats, asked the UK to unequivocally state that there will always be a human in the loop when decisions over the use of lethal force are taken. Responding to these calls, defence minister Baroness Goldie simply stated that the “UK does not use systems that employ lethal force without context appropriate human involvement”.
This formulation, which was used twice by the Minister, offers less reassurance over the UK’s possible future use of these weapons than the UK’s previous position that Britain “does not possess fully autonomous weapon systems and has no intention of developing them”. Läs artikel