Robots as Weapons in Just Wars

Philosophy and Technology 24 (3):293-306 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This essay analyzes the use of military robots in terms of the jus in bello concepts of discrimination and proportionality. It argues that while robots may make mistakes, they do not suffer from most of the impairments that interfere with human judgment on the battlefield. Although robots are imperfect weapons, they can exercise as much restraint as human soldiers, if not more. Robots can be used in a way that is consistent with just war theory when they are programmed to avoid using force against all but the most clearly hostile targets. However, the essay also cautions against using robots for counterinsurgency because they may alienate people in the contested area and lead to an escalation of hostilities.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,038

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The morality of weapons research.John Forge - 2004 - Science and Engineering Ethics 10 (3):531-542.
Autonomous Weapons and Distributed Responsibility.Marcus Schulzke - 2013 - Philosophy and Technology 26 (2):203-219.
Post-september 11: Computers, ethics and war.Richard T. De George - 2003 - Ethics and Information Technology 5 (4):183-190.
What are the Moral Limits of Weapons Research?John Forge - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (1):76-87.
Moral appearances: emotions, robots, and human morality. [REVIEW]Mark Coeckelbergh - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3):235-241.
Disarming nuclear apologists.Robert E. Goodin - 1985 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 28 (1-4):153 – 176.
Can we trust robots?Mark Coeckelbergh - 2012 - Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):53-60.


Added to PP

91 (#188,119)

6 months
24 (#116,897)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Killing in war.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Killer robots.Robert Sparrow - 2007 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (1):62–77.
Innocence, Self‐Defense and Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 1994 - Journal of Political Philosophy 2 (3):193-221.
Prolegomena to any future artificial moral agent.Colin Allen & Gary Varner - 2000 - Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 12 (3):251--261.

View all 21 references / Add more references