Autonomous Weapons – Prospects for Regulation

This research project aims to bring an interdisciplinary approach to the question of regulating autonomous weapons systems.

One strong present incentive for development of high-level AI comes from its military potential with respect to autonomous weapons.

Concerns about this development have already been raised within the AI community, among lawyers and ethicists, and in informal expert discussions at the UN. In 2017, UN discussions on autonomous weapons were taken up for the first time by a Group of Governmental Experts in the framework of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

The LCFI research project aims to connect the communities concerned with the military applications of AI and to link them to relevant expertise in international law and the history of arms control.

This project is also a starting point for the study of many wider legal questions that AI presents. Legal systems have long considered the delegation of decision-making authority, but decision-makers have been human beings acting individually or as institutions. AI poses the question whether, and to what extent, we should entrust decisions (including decisions that carry significant and irreversible consequences) to non-human actors. Therefore, this work links to several other projects, including Trust and Transparency, Agency and Persons, and Politics and Policy.