28 November 2017

A seven minute video entitled “Slaughter Bots” designed to raise awareness of the dangers of autonomous weapons, produced and filmed by Hertfordshire University staff and students, has gone viral – generating half a million views in its first week of posting online.

Co-produced by Professor Peter Richardson, using undergraduate and postgraduate Hertfordshire University students, the film was released to coincide with the Geneva Convention on Conventional Weapons Group which took place last week. It achieved excellent impact and generated publicity worldwide becoming embedded in more than 180,000 reports, including CNN, South China Morning Post and International Business Times and received 23,000 citations.

This Group of Governmental Experts on lethal autonomous weapons, which was shown the film, meets regularly to make policy recommendations on this new weapons technology to the United Nations. The Convention concluded “that the majority of states see a legally binding instrument as the best option for addressing the challenges posed by AWS (automatic weapons systems), and that at least 20 of these want this to be a prohibition on AW”.

“Whilst our students have vast experience working on such exciting projects as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Harry Potter films, this is the first time that we’ve had the opportunity to work on a project that has the potential to influence transformational change at a global level.  It was a fantastic learning experience for our students and it was exhilarating to watch the success of the video as the week unfolded,” said Professor Richardson.

A student who worked on the film said: “It was thrilling to work on a project that will have a real impact on influencing the type of world that I’ll be living in in the future. As an added bonus we worked alongside industry veterans to produce the video so we all learnt an amazing amount.”

Image credit: Slaughterbots