THE Philippines has called on the international community to launch negotiations for legally binding rules on the development and use of artificial intelligence-powered killer robots, or generally termed as lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo made this pitch before the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York Saturday.
Manalo, who represented President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in UNGA this year, reiterated the call of the President last year to create rules and norms “for responsible use of emerging technologies.”
To put this agenda forward, the Philippines is hosting a meeting among Indo-Pacific partners in December to craft rules to govern LAWS.
Countries have been developing and deploying weapons that would be able to fight on their own. Some can already decide who to target and kill, with the use of AI that can recognize enemy radar systems, tanks and ships. The most common LAWS are anti-vehicle and antipersonnel mines which are used for defensive purposes.
However, the Russia-Ukraine war has seen newer sophisticated weapons like Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones and Iran’s Shahed-136 kamikaze drones.
A report by Foreign Policy magazine identified Israel, Russia, South Korea and Turkey as countries that reportedly deployed autonomous weapons. Australia, United Kingdom, China and the United States are investing heavily in developing LAWS.
The Philippines also advocates for peaceful uses of outer space and to elaborate the principle of “due regard,” which includes increasing the responsibilities of spacefaring nations to reduce threats from space such as debris from rocket launches.
Earlier, China’s rocket launches have resulted in the falling of large debris on Philippine waters. There has been concern that if the large debris had fallen on more densely populated areas, there may be casualties or property damage.
“We call for UN partnerships that guarantee that new technologies are not weaponized, or misused in any way to subvert democracy and freedom, to challenge international humanitarian law, and to exploit the vulnerable and violate human rights and human dignity,” Manalo said.
Image credits: Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense via AP