Blog Archives

Video Contest Launched

**CONTEST IS NOW INTERNATIONAL – STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD WELCOME TO ENTER**

Mines Action Canada is launching a Keep Killer Robots Fiction video contest for students.  We are inviting students from  across Canada around the world to make and submit 2 minute video on the theme of “Keep Killer Robots Fiction“.

What is the purpose?  The purpose of this competition is to find new, compelling and provocative ways to start a conversation in the public about autonomous weapons systems.  Autonomous weapons systems or killer robots are future weapons that can select and fire upon targets without human control.

Killer robots have been a staple trope in fiction and entertainment for years.  Over the past decade, the possibility of fully autonomous weapons is becoming closer to reality. Recently we have seen a dramatic rise in unmanned weapons that has changed the face of warfare. New technology is permitting serious efforts to develop fully autonomous weapons. These robotic weapons would be able to choose and fire on targets on their own, without any human intervention. This capability would pose a fundamental challenge to the protection of civilians and to compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law.  For clarity it is necessary to note that fully autonomous weapons are not drones; drones have a human pilot in a remote location.  Fully autonomous weapons are a large step beyond armed drones.  You can learn more about autonomous weapons systems online at: www.stopkillerrobots.ca.

Your submission should illustrate one of the major problems with autonomous weapons systems or ask a question about handing over life and death decisions to a machine:

  • A lack of accountability – who is responsible if an autonomous weapon kills the wrong person or malfunctions?
  • Inability to distinguish between legitimate and legal targets and others – human soldiers must be able to tell the difference between soldiers and civilians, could a robot ever make that distinction?
  • The moral issues surrounding outsourcing life and death decisions to machines – is it right to allow machines to choose to end a human life?

Please don’t limit yourself to these example questions about autonomous weapons, they are intended to inspire you to create some questions of your own to guide your project.

What do I win?  The winner or winning team will receive a Go-Pro HERO 4 Silver camera and a 3-way mount.

Who can participate?  Submissions will be accepted from any contestant between the ages of 18 and 30 who is currently enrolled in post-secondary education.

How do I enter the competition?  Submitting your entry to the video contest is easy! Simply complete these three steps by March 15, 2015:

  1. Visit the contest entry form on our website, and fill in all of the required information.
  2. Upload your video to Vimeo and specify the location (URL) on the entry form. Memberships to Vimeo are free.
  3. Submit your online entry form to the Mines Action Canada team.

The Contest Rules and other information can be found in the Video Contest Announcement.  Please read the announcement carefully to ensure that your project is eligible for consideration by our panel of expert judges.  The contest entry form is available online at: http://goo.gl/forms/0VOGD6mgTp.

States to work on Killer Robots

Today the States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) agreed to convene a meeting to discuss fully autonomous weapons  or killer robots in May 2014.   Mines Action Canada (MAC), a co-founder of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, welcomes this historic decision to begin to address this issue.  MAC encourages all states to pursue an international ban on these weapons to ensure there will always be meaningful human control over targeting decisions and the use of violent force.

We are pleased that Canada made its first public statements on this topic during the CCW joining the other 43 nations who have spoken out on fully autonomous weapons since May.  MAC looks forward to working with the Government of Canada to develop national policies on fully autonomous weapons.  Along with our colleagues from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots we hope to see Canada actively participate in the CCW discussions.  Mines Action Canada encourages Canada to take on a leadership role in international efforts to ban fully autonomous weapons and ensure that humans will always have meaningful control over life and death decisions in conflict.

“If we have learned anything from the Canadian led efforts to ban landmines, it is that the world cannot afford to wait until there is a humanitarian crisis to act.  We need a preemptive ban on fully autonomous weapons before they can cause a humanitarian disaster,” said Paul Hannon, Executive Director, Mines Action Canada.

For more details on the CCW mandate, please see the international web site for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

First ever UN debate on killer robots

This week, the United Nations Human Rights Council became the first UN body to discuss the issue of killer robots.  To mark the occasion, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots headed to Geneva to introduce our campaign to diplomats, UN agencies and civil society.  Check out the full report from the international campaign.