Institutional Options for Robot Governance

Robots, which are generally understood as systems that take in information about the world, process that information, and can then act on the world, represent an enormous technological and economic opportunity that will change society in innumerable and unpredictable ways. Because they are non-human but can act on the world, new legal frameworks will be…

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!: HRI and the Automation of Police Use of Force

This paper considers the ethical challenges facing the development of robotic systems that deploy violent and lethal force against humans. While the use of violent and lethal force is not usually acceptable for humans or robots, police officers are authorized by the state to use violent and lethal force in certain circumstances in order to…

Autonomous Weapon Systems: Implications of Increasing Autonomy in the Critical Functions of Weapons

Debates on autonomous weapon systems have expanded significantly in recent years in diplomatic, military, scientific, academic and public forums. In March 2014, the ICRC convened an international expert meeting to consider the relevant technical, military, legal and humanitarian issues.1 Expert discussions at a Meeting of Experts convened by the High Contracting Parties to the UN…

Categorization and legality of autonomous and remote weapons systems

This article reconsiders the status and legality of both autonomous and remote weapons systems under international humanitarian law. Technologically advanced unmanned military systems are being introduced into the modern battlespace with insufficient recognition of their potential challenge to international humanitarian law. The article questions the understanding of both autonomous and remote weapons systems as ‘weapons’…

The responsibility gap: Ascribing responsibility for the actions of learning automata

Traditionally, the manufacturer/operator of a machine is held (morally and legally) responsible for the consequences of its operation. Autonomous, learning machines, based on neural networks, genetic algorithms and agent architectures, create a new situation wherein the manufacturer/operator of the machine is in principle not capable of predicting the future machine behaviour anymore, and thus cannot…