International Governance of Autonomous Military Robots
36 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2011
Date Written: December 30, 2010
Unarmed aerial vehicles (i.e., drones) are already starting to transform the conduct of military engagements, and these systems are projected an increasingly prominent role in military forces in the future. A number of factors will push these systems toward increased autonomy, raising the possibility of the future development of lethal autonomous robotics (LARs). This article seeks to proactively address the ethical, policy, and legal aspects of ALRs. It first describes the technological status and incentives for LARs, and then reviews some ethical and policy concerns that autonomous systems present. The paper then describes three potential routes for proactive governance of LARs: (i) existing legal and policy regimes such as rules of engagement, laws of war, and international humanitarian law; (ii) arms control agreements; and (iii) “soft law” mechanisms such as codes of conduct and international consultative bodies.
Keywords: Military Technology, Robotics, Arms Control, Soft Law, Governance
JEL Classification: K33, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation