Scientists have expressed concern about the use of autonomous decision-making robots, particularly for military use.
As they become more common, these machines could also have negative impacts on areas such as surveillance and elderly care, the roboticists warn.
The researchers were speaking ahead of a public debate at the Dana Centre, part of London's Science Museum.
Discussions about the future use of robots in society had been largely ill-informed so far, they argued.
Autonomous robots are able to make decisions without human intervention. At a simple level, these can include robot vacuum cleaners that "decide" for themselves when to move from room to room or to head back to a base station to recharge. (more at link)