Dresden 2013 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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AGA: Arbeitsgruppe Physik und Abrüstung

AGA 7: New Weapon Technologies and Arms Control

AGA 7.1: Hauptvortrag

Donnerstag, 7. März 2013, 14:00–15:00, HSZ-04

The proliferation of robot technology, autonomy and prohibition — •Noel Sharkey — University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

This talk will examine the ethical and legal implications of using armed military robots in the post 9/11 and Gaza conflicts and their role in the near-future. Concerns will be raised about targeted killings and lowering the bar for warfare - remotely piloted aircraft are already being considered an action short of warfare. Although there is currently a "man-in-the-loop" for all lethal targeting operations, that role will shrink as autonomy is incrementally added. This is worrying because, autonomous lethal robots cannot discriminate between combatant and non-combatant targets, will not have battlefield awareness, will not be able to reason appropriately or make proportionality decisions. With over 70 countries now buying and developing the technology, autonomous armed drones could become the tool of choice in future wars. I will assess the technology, plans for its future and its potential impact on civilians. Military necessity is considered as a possible way to allow autonomous lethal targeting. Finally, I will discuss the available legal instruments for prohibiting autonomous selection and engagement with targets and argue that the only rational choice is a new international prohibition treaty.

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