November 19, 2012

Losing Humanity

The Case against Killer Robots

Summary
Definitions and Technology
Safeguards for Civilian Protection
Recommendations
To All States
To Roboticists and Others Involved in the Development of Robotic Weapons
I. Unmanned Robots and the Evolution toward Fully Autonomous Weapons
Plans for Autonomy
Automatic Weapons Defense Systems
Other Precursors to Fully Autonomous Weapons
II. Article 36 and the Requirement to Review New Weapons
III. International Humanitarian Law Compliance Mechanisms
Arkin’s “Ethical Governor”
“Strong AI”
IV. Challenges to Compliance with International Humanitarian Law
Distinction
Proportionality
Military Necessity
Martens Clause
Conclusion
V. Other Threats to Civilian Protection
The Lack of Human Emotion
Making War Easier and Shifting the Burden to Civilians
VI. Problems of Accountability for Fully Autonomous Weapons
Conclusion
To All States
Prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.
Adopt national laws and policies to prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons.
Commence reviews of technologies and components that could lead to fully autonomous weapons. These reviews should take place at the very beginning of the development process and continue throughout the development and testing phases.
To Roboticists and Others Involved in the Development of Robotic Weapons
Establish a professional code of conduct governing the research and development of autonomous robotic weapons, especially those capable of becoming fully autonomous, in order to ensure that legal and ethical concerns about their use in armed conflict are adequately considered at all stages of technological development.
Acknowledgments