On Jan. 25, the DoD updated its directive on “Autonomy in Weapons Systems,” the guiding document for U.S. development, implementation, and supervision of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons systems.
Latest in autonomous military technologies
Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh reportedly may have been assassinated using a remote-controlled machine gun. Such devices are unfortunately easy to construct.
For Lawfare readers interested in law and regulation of autonomous weapon systems (AWS), we’re pleased to note our new essay, recently posted to SSRN, “Debating Autonomous Weapon Systems, Their Ethics, and Their Regulation Under International Law.” It appears as a chapter in a just-published volume, The Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation, and Technology, edited by Rog
Editor's Note: Autonomous weapons systems are often vilified as “killer robots” that will slay thousands without compunction – arguments that the systems’ proponents often dismiss with a wave of their hands. Adam Saxton, a research intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies , argues that the picture is neither black nor white. Autonomous weapons do pose ethical issues in the conduct of warfare, but often the arguments for or against them caricature the weapons and misunderstand their actual use.
In writing about autonomous weapon systems (AWS) and the law of armed conflict, we have several times observed the similarities between programming AWS and programming other kinds of autonomous technologies, as well as the similarities of ethical issues arising in each. Machine decision-making is gradually being deployed in emerging technologies as different as self-driving cars and highly automated aircraft, and many more will join them in such areas as elder-care machines and robotic surgery.
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War
By Peter W. Singer and August Cole
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2015)
Reviewed by Charles J. Dunlap, Jr.