Perverse Consequences of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

14 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2021

See all articles by Christopher J. Coyne

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Yahya Alshamy

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 16, 2021

Abstract

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) refer to military systems that employ human-made algorithms to independently identify, search for, and engage targets without human intervention. LAWS refer to autonomous weapons systems with total or at least near-total independence from human control after activation. Although they have existed for decades, in recent years that have been ongoing efforts to develop offensive LAWS, as opposed to defensive ones, in several of the world’s most militarily and technologically advanced countries. The purpose of our paper is to present six perverse consequences of using offensive LAWS. Because LAWS will transform warfare and policing with potentially high, negative costs on human wellbeing, it is crucial to consider these costs as part of the overall evaluation of LAWS.

Keywords: Arms race, Artificial intelligence, AI, drones, Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, LAWS, militarism, peace, Robotic warfare

JEL Classification: D74, F51

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Alshamy, Yahya, Perverse Consequences of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (January 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3767512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3767512

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/christopher-coyne

Yahya Alshamy

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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