Philosophy and Technology 26 (2):203-219 (2013)
AbstractThe possibility that autonomous weapons will be deployed on the battlefields of the future raises the challenge of determining who can be held responsible for how these weapons act. Robert Sparrow has argued that it would be impossible to attribute responsibility for autonomous robots' actions to their creators, their commanders, or the robots themselves. This essay reaches a much different conclusion. It argues that the problem of determining responsibility for autonomous robots can be solved by addressing it within the context of the military chain of command. The military hierarchy is a system of distributing responsibility between decision makers on different levels and constraining autonomy. If autonomous weapons are employed as agents operating within this system, then responsibility for their actions can be attributed to their creators and their civilian and military superiors
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