Human Rights Watch this week released a new report calling for the world to abandon fully autonomous weapons "before it's too late." Jointly published by HRW and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, the 50-page report acknowledges that fully autonomous weapons are not yet a reality, but warns that contemporary trends are definitely pushing us in that direction. According to HRW, the implications could be devastating, since such mechanized weaponry would, by definition, lack the human controls "that provide legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians."

HRW says its report, "Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots," is the first major publication of its kind from a non-governmental organization. In it, the group also calls upon governments to implement an international treaty that would ban development and production of fully autonomous weapons, before the tide of momentum becomes too great. "It is essential to stop the development of killer robots before they show up in national arsenals," said Steve Goose, HRW's Arms Division director. "As countries become more invested in this technology, it will become harder to persuade them to give it up."