'Machines can't make life & death decisions' : Nobel laureate, Jody Williams on new-age weapons
Updated on: 27 Apr 2016
Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 together with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines for their central role in establishing the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The US-based political activist is known across the world for her efforts to enhance understandings of security and related issues in the world today. She is also the chair of the Noble Women's Initiative that she founded in 2006 together with five other women Nobel Peace laureates.
She, along with 20 of her fellow Nobel Peace laureates have called for a preemptive ban on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)—weapons that could operate without human supervision once activated even in matters of killing human beings. The UN's Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) held their third informal government's meet in Geneva from 11-15 April. Williams speaks of why they object to these weapons, her expectations from the meetings and why LAWS could change the way wars are fought.
What are your objections to the deployment of LAWS in warfare?
There is a whole range of issues. There are international humanitarian law (IHL) issues—the firm belief that autonomous weapons that can target and kill on their own cannot possibly comply with the laws of war, the norms of which have been developed over many decades-- generations and generations and suddenly you would have weapons systems that would not be able to comply (with IHL) and would undercut generations of work trying to bring some sanity to war. And that's an oxymoron anyway.