Autonomous Weapons

Tim MacFarland of the University of Melbourne has posted an interesting paper on “How Lawyers Should Think About Autonomous Weapons”

You can download it here.


Various States are developing increasingly autonomous weapon systems which promise vast changes in the conduct of armed conflict over the coming years, but there remain significant unanswered questions regarding their compatibility with international humanitarian law. This paper draws on military development proposals and technical literature to identify five factors which will shape the legal effects of autonomous military systems. The key finding is that systems which present legal challenges are those which relieve humans of decisions which are regulated by law and, in so doing, transfer some control of, and responsibility for, those decisions away from traditional decision-makers.

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