The best way to handle this threat is an international, legally binding ban on weapons that lack meaningful human control.

Humans can apply their judgment, based on past experience and moral considerations, and make case-by-case determinations about proportionality.

Under international criminal law, a human operator would in most cases escape liability for the harm caused by a weapon that acted independently.

The talks would consider whether these systems should be restricted under the Convention on Conventional Weapons, a disarmament treaty that has regulated or banned several other types of weapons, including incendiary weapons and blinding lasers.

They should initiate negotiations of a new international agreement to address fully autonomous weapons, moving beyond general expressions of concern to specific action.

They should seize the opportunity presented by the review conference because the alternative is unacceptable: Allowing technology to outpace diplomacy would produce dire and unparalleled humanitarian consequences.

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