Jody Williams and Mary Wareham were leading lights in the campaign to ban landmines. Now they have autonomous weapons in their sights

It sounds like something from the outer reaches of science fiction: battlefield robots waging constant war, algorithms that determine who to kill, face-recognition fighting machines that can ID a target and take it out before you have time to say “Geneva conventions”.

This is no film script, however, but an ominous picture of future warfare that is moving ever closer. “Killer robots” is shorthand for a range of tech that has generals salivating and peace campaigners terrified at the ethical ramifications of warfare waged via digital proxies.

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