Archive | Analysis


Autonomous Weapon Systems and Strategic Stability

Posted on 20 September 2017 by Frank Sauer

Building on arguments previously developed for a blog post, ICRAC’s Juergen Altmann and Frank Sauer discuss the strategic implications of autonomy in weapon systems in more depth in a recently published article in Survival. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction: In July 2015, an open letter from artificial-intelligence experts and roboticists called for a ban on autonomous weapon […] Continue Reading

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Reflections on the 2016 CCW Review Conference

Posted on 08 February 2017 by Frank Sauer

This is a guest post by Anna Khalfaoui. Anna is currently pursuing a LLM at Harvard Law School, having previously studied at Cambridge University and King’s College London. She specialises in public international law and international human rights law. Click here to read this post in braille Reflections on the Review Conference as a newcomer […] Continue Reading

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Speed kills! Why we need to hit the brakes on “killer robots”

Posted on 08 April 2016 by Frank Sauer

by Juergen Altmann and Frank Sauer This analysis originally appeared as a guest post on Autonomous weapon systems: rarely has an issue gained the attention of the international arms control community as quickly as these so-called killer robots. “Once activated, they can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator“, according […] Continue Reading

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LAWS: An Open Letter from AI & Robotics Experts

Posted on 29 July 2015 by Frank Sauer

Thousands of experts in artificial intelligence, robotics and related professions have signed an open letter, hosted by the Future of Life Institute, calling for a ban on autonomous weapons that select and engage targets without human intervention. You can read more on the importance of this letter to the current global effort of banning lethal […] Continue Reading

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Some of ICRAC’s members in discussion at the UN in Geneva

Banning Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS): The way forward

Posted on 13 June 2014 by Frank Sauer

With ICRAC’s 2009 mission statement fulfilled and the issue of fully autonomous weapon systems picked up by the international community at the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva, ICRAC and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots can celebrate a first success (Read more about this here and here and see the ICRAC […] Continue Reading

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Is Russia Leading the World to Autonomous Weapons?

Posted on 06 May 2014 by Mark Gubrud

The short answer is no. But Russia is testing and may deploy at its ICBM bases a lethal mobile system which has “automatic and semi-automatic control modes.” Additionally, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has recently called for “robotic systems that are fully integrated in the command and control system, capable not only to gather intelligence […] Continue Reading

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Futureproofing Is Never Complete: Ensuring the Arms Trade Treaty Keeps Pace with New Weapons Technology

Posted on 19 October 2013 by mbolton

In a new working paper, International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) members Matthew Bolton (Pace University) and Wim Zwijnenburg (IKV Pax Christi) stress the importance of making sure states control new weapons technologies, including robotic weapons, when the Arms Trade Treatyenters into force. It outlines strategies for civil society (such as the Control Arms campaign) and concerned states to counter […] Continue Reading

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A meme is born: autonomous = secure

Posted on 11 October 2013 by Mark Gubrud

One of Joshua Foust’s assertions in his debate with Heather Roff was that making weapons autonomous was necessary in order to secure them against the threat of hacking. I posted a response after Foustreiterated this surprising argument, and provided a few scraps of pseudo-evidence to support it, in an article which seems to have gone semi-viral on the internet–launching what seems […] Continue Reading

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NYT warns of killer robot gap

Posted on 29 September 2013 by Mark Gubrud

New York Times science writer John Markoff reported on Sept.23 that the US military “lags” in development of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), which is sort of true if you compare the status of UGVs with that of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The real reason, as Markoff acknowledges, has to do with the technical difficulty of locomotion on […] Continue Reading

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US killer robot policy: Full speed ahead

Posted on 22 September 2013 by Mark Gubrud

In November 2012, United States Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signed directive 3000.09, establishing policy for the “design, development, acquisition, testing, fielding, and … application of lethal or non-lethal, kinetic or non-kinetic, force by autonomous or semi-autonomous weapon systems.”  Without fanfare, the world had its first openly declared national policy for killer robots. The policy has […] Continue Reading

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