Books  |    |  August 19, 2016

Autonomous Weapons Systems: Law, Ethics, Policy

Book edited by Nehal Bhuta, Susanne Beck, Robin Geiβ, Hin-Yan Liu, Claus Kreβ.
Published by Cambridge University Press.
420 pages.

The intense and polemical debate over the legality and morality of weapons systems to which human cognitive functions are delegated (up to and including the capacity to select targets and release weapons without further human intervention) addresses a phenomena which does not yet exist but which is widely claimed to be emergent. This groundbreaking collection combines contributions from roboticists, legal scholars, philosophers and sociologists of science in order to recast the debate in a manner that clarifies key areas and articulates questions for future research. The contributors develop insights with direct policy relevance, including who bears responsibility for autonomous weapons systems, whether they would violate fundamental ethical and legal norms, and how to regulate their development. It is essential reading for those concerned about this emerging phenomenon and its consequences for the future of humanity.

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction

  • Autonomous weapons systems: living a dignified life and dying a dignified death — Christof Heyns

Part II. Meanings of Autonomy and Human Cognition under Automation

  • Staying in the loop: human supervisory control of weapons — Noel Sharkey
  • The autonomy of technological systems and responsibilities for their use — Giovanni Sartor and Andrea Omicini
  • Human-machine autonomies — Lucy Suchman and Jutta Weber

Part III. Autonomous Weapons Systems and Human Dignity

  • Are autonomous weapon systems a threat to human dignity? — Dieter Birnbacher
  • On banning autonomous weapons systems: from deontological to wide consequentialist reasons — Guglielmo Tamburrini

Part IV. Risk, Transparency and Legal Compliance in the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons Systems

  • Judgment, liability, and the risk of riskless warfare — Pablo Kalmanovitz
  • Autonomous weapons systems and transparency: towards an international dialogue — Sarah Knuckey
  • A human touch: autonomous weapons, DOD Directive 3000.09 and the interpretation of ‘appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force’ — Dan Saxon
  • Autonomous weapons systems: managing the inevitability of ‘taking the man out of the loop’ — Geoffrey S. Corn

Part V. New Frameworks for Collective Responsibility

  • The obligation to exercise discretion in warfare: why autonomous weapon systems are unlawful — Eliav Lieblich and Eyal Benvenisti
  • Autonomy and uncertainty: increasingly autonomous weapons systems and the international legal regulation of risk — Nehal Bhuta and Stavros-Evdokimos Pantazopoulos

Part VI. New Frameworks for Individual Responsibility

  • Autonomous weapons systems: new frameworks for individual responsibility — Neha Jain
  • Refining responsibility: differentiating two types of responsibility issues raised by autonomous weapons systems — Hin-Yan Liu
  • Present futures: concluding reflections and open questions on autonomous weapons systems — Nehal Bhuta, Susanne Beck and Robin Geiß

About the Editors

  • Nehal Bhuta is Professor of Public International Law at the European University Institute, Florence, and Co-Director of the EUI’s Academy of European Law.
  • Susanne Beck is Professor of Criminal Law and Procedure, Comparative Criminal Law and the Philosophy of Law at Leibniz University Hanover.
  • Robin Geiß is Professor of International Law and Security at the University of Glasgow.
  • Hin-Yan Liu is Associate Professor at the Centre for International Law, Conflict and Crisis, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen.
  • Claus Kreß is Professor of Criminal Law and Public International Law at the University of Cologne, where he is also Director of the Institute of International Peace and Security Law.