Killer robots — those autonomous armed robots programmed to randomly kill humans — don’t exist yet, although artificial intelligence laboratories are working on them, and the very thought has thrown the world into a tizzy.

Last Sunday, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) produced a report warning that future warfare will be conducted by armies of robots, soldiers on gene-editing and drugs, and space-war, where cyberspace gives terrorists more opportunity.

Last month, experts from various countries met at the Geneva offices of the United Nations to discuss how to regulate these killer robots. The subsequent report published by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic claimed that fully autonomous weapons would violate the Martens Clause, which calls for protection for civilians and combatants.

Last summer, Elon Musk and 105 other signatories petitioned the United Nations to ban killer robots: