Autonomous Weapons Systems and the Obligation to Exercise Discretion
Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems: Expert Opinions Delivered at the CCW Informal Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, Geneva, 11 to 15 April 2016 229 (Robin Geiss ed., 2017)
10 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2016 Last revised: 2 Feb 2017
Date Written: April 14, 2016
This presentation argues that a key problem posed by AWS is that they constitute a use of administrative powers against individuals without the exercise of proper discretion. AWS are based on pre-programmed algorithms, and therefore – as long as they are incapable of human like metacognition – when they are deployed administrative discretion is bound. Operating on the basis of bound discretion is per se arbitrary and contradicts basic notions of administrative law, notions that, as argued here, complement modern standards of international humanitarian and human rights law. This realization explains better some of the concerns relating to AWS, which are usually expressed in circular arguments and counter-arguments between consequentialist and deontological approaches.
Keywords: Autonomous Weapons System, Killer Robots, IHL, International Humanitarian Law, Law of Armed Conflict, Global Administrative Law, Sovereignty, International Human Rights Law
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