'Robots to kill opponents in battlefields within 10 years'

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London, Feb 27 (UNI) In the race to manufacture robots matching human skills, the day is not far when these machines would be sent to battlefields to kill the opponents.

According to Professor Noel Sharkey, of the University of Sheffield, UK, robot arms race could turn into a reality.

Increased research by countries including America, Russia, China and Israel will lead to the use of battlefield robots that can decide when to kill within 10 years, he says.

''There's a massive drive towards developing autonomous robots for more complex missions. We are rapidly moving towards robots that can make the decision to apply lethal force, when to apply it and who to apply it to. I think maybe we're talking about a 10-year time frame,'' said Prof Sharkey.

He also predicts that it is only a matter of time before robots become a standard terrorist weapon, replacing suicide bombers.

''If one country develops autonomous robots, it is clear that other countries will follow suit,'' he said.

Prof Sharkey will outline his concerns in a speech at a conference in London, on the ethics of unmanned military systems organised by the Royal United Services Institute, a respected defence think tank, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Last year America's Defence Department published a 25-year plan to spend 12 billion pounds on robotic air, land and sea systems. US forces recently deployed remote-controlled robots equipped with automatic weapons in Iraq.

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