Killer robots could be on world's battlefields within a year, says Sheffield expert

Killer robots which can't tell the difference between enemies and innocent civilians could be used on the world's battlefields within a year, a Sheffield expert has warned.

Prof Sharkey says killer robots like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator could be on the world's battlefields within a year.

Professor Noel Sharkey says the automated killing machines could cause mass deaths - and has called for an international treat banning the use of lethal robots.

Dr Noel Sharkey, Professor of AI and Robotics as well as a Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Sheffield and who was also head judge on the popular TV show Robot Wars told Mail Online: "Most [countries] have said that meaningful human control of weapons is vitally important.

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"I believe that we will get a treaty but the worry is what sort of treaty?

"Without a treaty, killer robots could be rolled out within a year."

Nations are currently developing their own versions of these 'killer robots' and there is little to no legislation to prevent them being deployed.

This week, a UN convention dedicated to this topic is bringing together delegates from 90 different member states in Geneva.

Experts stress that all robotic weapons should have a level of 'meaningful human control,' said Professor Sharkey.

Professor Sharkey, and many others, think that the main flaw of the killer robots is that the technology is incapable of making human-like decisions.

He said: 'I don't believe they can adhere to the rules of war. They can't decipher enemy from friend and they have no way of deciding a proportionate response. That is a human decision that cannot be replicated in a robot."

"We are not against autonomous robots, but we believe they should not be able to choose their own targets."