Toward Meaningful Human Control of Autonomous Weapons Systems Through Function Allocation

M. C. Canellas and R. A. Haga, "Toward meaningful human control of autonomous weapons systems through function allocation," 2015 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), Dublin, 2015, pp. 1-7. doi: 10.1109/ISTAS.2015.7439432

7 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2017  

Marc Canellas

New York University School of Law

Rachel Haga

Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Aerospace Engineering, Cognitive Engineering Center

Date Written: October 26, 2015

Abstract

One of the few convergent themes during the first two United Nations Meeting of Experts on autonomous weapons systems (AWS) in 2014 and 2015 was the requirement that there be meaningful human control (MHC) of AWS. What exactly constitutes MHC, however, is still ill-defined. While multiple sets of definitions and analyses have been published and discussed, this work seeks to address two key issues with the current definitions: (1) they are inconsistent in what authorities and responsibilities of human and automated agents need to be regulated, and (2) they lack the specificity that would be required for designers to systemically integrate these restrictions into AWS designs. Given that MHC centers on the interaction of human and autonomous agents, we leverage the models and metrics of function allocation - the allocation of work between human and autonomous agents - to analyze and compare definitions of MHC and the definitions of AWS proposed by the U.S. Department of Defense. Specifically, we transform the definitions into function allocation form to model and compare the definitions, and then show how a mismatch between authority and responsibility in an exemplar military scenario can still plague the human-AWS interactions. In summary, this paper provides a starting point for future research to investigate the application of function allocation to the questions of MHC and more generally, the development of rules and standards for incorporating AWS into the law of armed conflict.

Keywords: autonomous weapon systems, meaningful human control, cognitive engineering, function allocation, human-automation interaction, military computing, law, standards

JEL Classification: N4, N40

Suggested Citation

Canellas, Marc and Haga, Rachel, Toward Meaningful Human Control of Autonomous Weapons Systems Through Function Allocation (October 26, 2015). M. C. Canellas and R. A. Haga, "Toward meaningful human control of autonomous weapons systems through function allocation," 2015 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), Dublin, 2015, pp. 1-7. doi: 10.1109/ISTAS.2015.7439432. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2927702

Marc Canellas (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.marccanellas.com

Rachel Haga

Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Aerospace Engineering, Cognitive Engineering Center ( email )

270 Ferst Drive
Atlanta, GA 30332-0150
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cognitiveengineering.gatech.edu/people/rachel-haga

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