Evitable Conflicts, Inevitable Technologies? The Science and Fiction of Robotic Welfare and International Humanitarian Law

Ian Kerr & Katie Szilagyi, "Evitable Conflicts, Inevitable Technologies? The Science and Fiction of Robotic Welfare and International Humanitarian Law" (2018) 14:1 Law, Culture and the Humanities 45.

33 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2019

See all articles by Ian R. Kerr

Ian R. Kerr

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Katie Szilagyi

University of Ottawa

Date Written: January 17, 2018

Abstract

This article addresses policy concerns about military use of lethal autonomous robots. The authors assess whether the automation and robotization of warfare would conform to, or alter, the norms and principles of international humanitarian law (IHL). Engaging science fiction and science and technology studies, the authors demonstrate how the current approach to technological regulation adversely affects the IHL principles of proportionality and military necessity. The idea that technologies have an embedded ideology is disregarded by the 'technological neutrality' approach to regulation, and the authors contend that when technology changes what is possible, it expands the boundaries of perceived necessities, thereby exerting a 'normative pull.' In this way, robotic military technologies alter the norms and practices of the battlefield; they are a force multiplier in the determination of military necessity, amplifying the amount of permissible destructive force in carrying out an operation.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, AI, robotic warfare, lethal autonomous warfare, international humanitarian law, IHL

Suggested Citation

Kerr, Ian R. and Szilagyi, Katie, Evitable Conflicts, Inevitable Technologies? The Science and Fiction of Robotic Welfare and International Humanitarian Law (January 17, 2018). Ian Kerr & Katie Szilagyi, "Evitable Conflicts, Inevitable Technologies? The Science and Fiction of Robotic Welfare and International Humanitarian Law" (2018) 14:1 Law, Culture and the Humanities 45., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3395423

Ian R. Kerr (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada
613-562-5800 (Phone)

Katie Szilagyi

University of Ottawa ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

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