London - They were brought up to learn you get 10,000 points for zapping an enemy craft or decimating a platoon of soldiers.

But experts fear this computer game generation could soon be the hands at the controls of killer robots destroying real lives.

They warn the US is already courting young games wizards to operate autonomous weapons that struggle to distinguish between a child holding an ice-cream cone and a man with a gun.

Warfare could be conducted by such robots within a generation, they believe, leading to the indiscriminate loss of civilian life.

Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence at Sheffield University, is among activists calling for a pre-emptive ban on autonomous weapons.

He said:”In America they are already training more drone pilots than real aircraft pilots, looking for young men who are very good at computer games.”

An unmanned fighter jet being developed in the US could have the ability to twist and turn at supersonic speeds, he said.

“No one on your side might get killed, but what effect will you be having on the other side, not just in lives but in attitudes and anger?” - Daily Mail