Killer robots: Regulate, don’t ban

In University of Oxford, Blavatnik School of Government Policy Memo. Blavatnik School of Government. pp. 1-4 (2014)
Authors
Vincent C. Müller
University of Leeds
Thomas W. Simpson
Oxford University
Abstract
Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems are here. Technological development will see them become widespread in the near future. This is in a matter of years rather than decades. When the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons meets on 10-14th November 2014, well-considered guidance for a decision on the general policy direction for LAWS is clearly needed. While there is widespread opposition to LAWS—or ‘killer robots’, as they are popularly called—and a growing campaign advocates banning them outright, we argue the opposite. LAWS may very well reduce suffering and death in war. Rather than banning them, they should be regulated, to ensure both compliance with international humanitarian law, and that this positive outcome occurs. This policy memo sets out the basic structure and content of the regulation required
Keywords killer robots  drones  LAWS  Geneva Conventions  International Humanitarian Law  war crimes
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