The United Nation’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), also known as the Inhumane Weapons Convention, is about to take the first small step toward an international ban on killer robots.

Activists have been agitating for years for a preliminary ban on fully autonomous lethal weapons, which the US Defense Department defines as weapons that “once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator.” That includes, say, drones that drop bombs automatically when they reach their targets.

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