Ethics and Information Technology 21 (2):75-87 (2019)

One of the several reasons given in calls for the prohibition of autonomous weapons systems (AWS) is that they are against human dignity (Asaro, 2012; Docherty, 2014; Heyns, 2017; Ulgen, 2016). However there have been criticisms of the reliance on human dignity in arguments against AWS (Birnbacher, 2016; Pop, 2018; Saxton, 2016). This paper critically examines the relationship between human dignity and autonomous weapons systems. Three main types of objection to AWS are identified; (i) arguments based on technology and the ability of AWS to conform to International Humanitarian Law; (ii) deontological arguments based on the need for human judgement and meaningful human control, including arguments based on human dignity; (iii) consequentialist reasons about their effects on global stability and the likelihood of going to war. An account is provided of the claims made about human dignity and AWS, of the criticisms of these claims, and of the several meanings of ‘dignity’. It is concluded that although there are several ways in which AWS can be said to be against human dignity, they are not unique in this respect. There are other weapons, and other technologies, that also compromise human dignity. Given this, and the ambiguities inherent in the concept, it is wiser to draw on several types of objections in arguments against AWS, and not to rely exclusively on human dignity.
Keywords human dignity  autonomous weapons systems  killer robots
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-018-9494-0
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References found in this work BETA

The Varieties of Dignity.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2004 - Health Care Analysis 12 (2):69-81.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.Vincent C. Müller - 2020 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Palo Alto, Cal.: CSLI, Stanford University. pp. 1-70.
Technology as Terrorism: Police Control Technologies and Drone Warfare.Jessica Wolfendale - 2021 - In Scott Robbins, Alastair Reed, Seamus Miller & Adam Henschke (eds.), Counter-Terrorism, Ethics, and Technology: Emerging Challenges At The Frontiers Of Counter-Terrorism,. Springer. pp. 1-21.
On the Indignity of Killer Robots.Garry Young - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):473-482.

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