Aspects of Realizing (Meaningful) Human Control: A Legal Perspective
T.M.C. Asser Institute for International & European Law, Asser Research Paper 2022-07, forthcoming in: Geiß, R. and Lahmann, H. (eds.), Research Handbook on Warfare and Artificial Intelligence, Edward Elgar Publishing.
21 Pages Posted: 13 May 2022
Date Written: May 11, 2022
The concept of ‘meaningful human control’ (MHC) has progressively emerged as a key frame of reference to conceptualize the difficulties posed by military applications of artificial intelligence (AI), and to identify solutions to mitigate these challenges. At the same time, this notion remains relatively indeterminate and difficult to operationalize. If MHC is to support the existing framework of international law applicable to military AI, it needs to be clarified in order to deal with the challenges of AI broadly construed, not limited to ‘autonomous weapons systems’ (AWS). This chapter seeks to refine the notion of MHC by exploring its nature and purpose, and reflecting on how MHC relates to core concepts of human agency and responsibility. Building on this analysis, we propose ways to operationalize MHC, in particular by putting greater emphasis on pre-deployment stages. A legal ‘compliance by design’ approach is advanced by the authors as a means to address the complex realities when military decision-making processes are mediated by AI-enabled technologies.
Keywords: autonomous weapons systems, meaningful human control, artificial intelligence, human agency, human-machine interaction, compliance by design
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation