UNITED NATIONS -  As president, Donald Trump will have to make crucial decisions about whether the United States pursues advanced military technology, like the so-called killer robots, allowing machines making life-or-death decisions, a media report says. 

It all sounds like science fiction, but a new era of machines empowered to make decisions about life and death of humans is set to begin as research in artificial intelligence has made significant progress, Politico reported on Monday.

“We’re on the doorstep of what armed conflict looks like in the 21st century,” August Cole, a security analyst and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told the online news service. US military planners have been focusing on developing lethal machines that select and attack their own targets in an effort to expand increasingly intelligent war weapons, including precision-guided missiles and remotely piloted drones.   The US military has already tested assassination drones armed with facial recognition software that could identify enemy combatants and target them at will. Human rights groups have warned against developing “killer robots” equipped with self-directed arms murdering people without regard for international law.

The groups say it would be almost impossible to restrict these weapons once they are deployed to global hot spots.

Several Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives have called on a preemptive ban on the development and use of the lethal technology.

Killer robots “would not simply be another weapon in the world’s arsenals, but would constitute a new method of warfare,” wrote nine House Democrats to Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.

“The US is not going to be amenable to any protocol in Geneva that bans the weapons they are developing,” said Steven Groves, a Heritage Foundation fellow assigned to the transition’s State Department landing team

“Why would they do it when their peer competitors are developing the same kind of weapons?”

At least 19 countries, including Pakistan, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Cuba and the Vatican, as well as Human Rights Watch have urged the Pentagon not to develop such lethal machines.