Friday, August 20, 2010

Autonomy and Accountability in Robot Wars

Vivek (Vik) Kanwar has written an article titled, Post-Human Humanitarian Law: The Law of War in the Age of Robotic Warfare, that has been published by the Social Science Research Network.
This Review Essay surveys the recent literature on the tensions between of autonomy and accountability in robotic warfare. Four books, taken together, suggest an original account of fundamental changes taking place in the field of IHL: P.W. Singer’s book Wired for War: the Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (2009), William H. Boothby’s Weapons and the Law of Armed Conflict (2009), Armin Krishnan’s Killer Robots: Legality and Ethicality of Autonomous Weapons (2009), and Ronald Arkin’s Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots (2009). This Review Essay argues that from the point of view of IHL the concern is not the introduction of robots into the battlefield, but the gradual removal of humans. In this way the issue of weapon autonomy marks a paradigmatic shift from the so-called “humanization” of IHL to possible post-human concerns.

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