'There is widespread public support for a ban on so-called “killer robots”, which campaigners say would “cross a moral line” after which it would be difficult to return.
Polling across 26 countries found over 60 per cent of the thousands asked opposed lethal autonomous weapons that can kill with no human input, and only around a fifth backed them.
The figures showed public support was growing for a treaty to regulate these controversial new technologies - a treaty which is already being pushed by campaigners, scientists and many world leaders.
However, a meeting in Geneva at the close of last year ended in a stalemate after nations including the US and Russia indicated they would not support the creation of such a global agreement.
Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, who coordinates the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, compared the movement to successful efforts to eradicate landmines from battlefields.
However, this time she said the aim was to achieve victory before autonomous weapons get out of control and into the wrong hands.
“The efforts to deal with landmines were reactive after the carnage had occurred. We are calling for a pre-emptive ban,” she said.
She added that unless kept in check these technologies could end up being employed not just by the military but by police forces and border guards as well.
Ms Wareham discussed these ideas with other experts in the field at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC.
She said scientists and tech companies such as Google had already been incredibly proactive in demonstrating their support for the cause.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres added his voice in November, calling lethal autonomous weapons systems “politically unacceptable and morally repugnant” and urging states to prohibit them.'
Ms Wareham said critics of these developments recognised killer robots as AI at its very worst.'
Read more: World calls for international treaty to stop killer robots before rogue states acquire them