Lethal Autonomous Weapons
10 Things We Want to Know
Over the course of ten episodes, the members of the research team will interview experts in various disciplines (science, law, ethics, etc.) who have studied and written about lethal autonomous weapon systems or LAWS. This podcast offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the challenges and problems raised by LAWS (or LAWS 1.0) for listeners with an academic interest in this topic.
Podcast partners: Asymmetrical Haircuts
- Episode 0: Who are We | 21 July 2021
The Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems & War Crimes project team appear on a special episode of Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg’s podcast Asymmetrical Haircuts, to discuss and introduce our new podcast – Lethal Autonomous Weapons: 10 Things We Want to Know.
- Episode 1: What are Lethal Autonomous Weapons | 4 August 2021
Paola and Abhimanyu interview Maaike Verbruggen, Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for European Studies. Maaike is an expert on military innovation, emerging military technologies and artificial intelligence. In this introductory episode, she explains what lethal autonomous weapons are, what kind of autonomous weapons already exist, and what kind might be developed in the future, as well as how they are currently regulated.
Maaike Verbruggen is the author of ‘Mapping the Development of Autonomy in Weapon Systems’ (with Vincent Boulanin) (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2017).
- Episode 2: What is Autonomy in Lethal Autonomous Weapons | 18 August 2021
Paola and Abhimanyu interview Dr. Tim McFarland, Research Fellow at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland. Tim McFarland’s research focuses on legal challenges connected with the defence and security applications of science and technology. In this episode, he explains what it means for a weapon system to be autonomous.
Tim is the author of Autonomous Weapon Systems and the Law of Armed Conflict: Compatibility With International Humanitarian Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
- Episode 3: Are Lethal Autonomous Weapons Compatible With the Law of War | 1 September 2021
Paola and Alessandra interview Professor Marco Sassòli, Professor of International Law at the University of Geneva and a renowned expert on international humanitarian law. In this episode, he discusses the rules of international humanitarian law that constrain the development of autonomous weapons and their use on the battlefield.
Marco is the author of International Humanitarian Law: Rules, Controversies, and Solutions to Problems Arising in Warfare (Elgar 2019) and ‘Autonomous Weapons and International Humanitarian Law: Advantages, Open Technical Questions and Legal Issues to be Clarified’, 90 International Law Studies 308 (2014).
- Episode 4: Are Lethal Autonomous Weapons Ethical | 15 September 2021
Paola and Marta interview Dr. Ozlem Ulgen, Reader in International Law and Ethics at the Birmingham City School of Law. Ozlem Ulgen is an expert on moral and legal philosophy in relation to the regulation of artificial intelligence and robotics. In this episode, she talks about the ethical challenges posed by the use of autonomous weapons in warfare, particularly in relation to the concept of human dignity.
Ozlem is the author of The Law and Ethics of Autonomous Weapons: A Cosmopolitan Perspective (Routledge forthcoming 2021), ‘Kantian Ethics in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics’, 43 Questions in International Law 59 (2017) and ‘Human Dignity in an Age of Autonomous Weapons: Are We in Danger of Losing an “Elementary Consideration of Humanity”?’, European Society of International Law Conference Paper Series No. 15/2016.
- Episode 5: Can Lethal Autonomous Weapons Used by Police Respect Human Rights | 29 September 2021
Paola and Alessandra interview Dr. Andrea Spagnolo, Assistant Professor at the University of Turin and a member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. His research spans several areas of international law, including international human rights law and new technologies. In this episode, he discusses the use of autonomous weapons in domestic law enforcement scenarios and their compatibility with human rights law.
Andrea is the author of ‘What Do Human Rights Really Say About the Use of Autonomous Weapons Systems for Law Enforcement Purposes?’, in Elena Carpanelli and Nicole Lazzerini (eds), Use and Misuse of New Technologies: Contemporary Challenges in International and European Law, 55-72 (Springer 2019) and ‘Human Rights Implications of Autonomous Weapon Systems in Domestic Law Enforcement: Sci-Fi Reflections on a Lo-Fi Reality’, 43 Questions of International Law 33 (2017).
- Episode 6: Who is Responsible for Lethal Autonomous Weapons | 13 October 2021
Paola and Marta interview Dustin Lewis, Research Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, where he leads research on contemporary challenges concerning armed conflict, including algorithmic warfare. In this episode, he tackles the issue of who bears responsibility for the violations of the laws of warfare committed when lethal autonomous weapons are used in the targeting process.
Dustin is the author of ‘Preconditions for Applying International Law to Autonomous Cyber Capabilities’, in Rain Liivoja and Ann Väljataga (eds), Autonomous Cyber Capabilities under International Law, 106-125 (NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence 2021), ‘On “Responsible A.I.” in War: Exploring Preconditions for Respecting International Law in Armed Conflict’, in Silja Vöneky et al (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Responsible Artificial Intelligence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (CUP forthcoming 2021), Three Pathways to Secure Greater Respect for International Law concerning War Algorithms (Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, Legal Commentary, 2020) and War-Algorithm Accountability (with Gabriella Blum and Naz K. Modirzadeh) (Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, Research Briefing, 2016).
- Episode 7: What are the Prospects for an International Treaty Regulating Autonomous Weapons | 27 October 2021
Paola and Alessandra interview Richard Moyes, Managing Director of Article 36, a non-profit organization focused on reducing harm from weapons and actively working, among other things, for the adoption of new legal standards on emerging technologies. In this episode, he talks about the prospects for the adoption of a new treaty regulating autonomous weapons.
Richard is the author of Regulating Autonomy in Weapons Systems (with Elizabeth Minor, 2020), Autonomy in Weapons Systems – Considering Approaches to Regulation (2020), and Autonomy in Weapons Systems: Mapping a Structure for Regulation Through Specific Policy Questions (2019). He is also the co-host of the Article 36 podcast: Regulating Autonomous Weapons.
- Episode 8: Can Human Exercise Meaningful Human Control Over Lethal Autonomous Weapons | 10 November 2021
Paola and Marta interview Dr. Ingvild Bode, Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern Denmark, where she leads an ERC research project on Autonomous Weapons Systems and International Norms (AUTONORMS). In this episode, she talks about what meaningful human control means and how lessons learned from existing automated systems can guide our understanding of meaningful human control in relation to lethal autonomous weapons.
Ingvild is the author of Meaning-Less Human Control: Lessons from Air Defence Systems on Meaningful Human Control for the Debate on AWS (with Tom Watts, 2021) and ‘The Future of Remote Warfare? Artificial Intelligence, Weapons Systems and Human Control’ (with Hendrik Huelss) in A. McKay, A. Watson, & M. Karlshøj-Pedersen (Eds.), Remote Warfare: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 218-233 (E-International Relations Publishing, 2021).
- Episode 9: What are the Implications of Lethal Autonomous Weapons for the Future of Armed Conflict | 24 November 2021
Paola and Abhimanyu interview Dr. Kenneth Payne, Reader in International Relations at King’s College London, where he conducts research in political psychology. In this episode, he talks about how lethal autonomous weapons systems will affect military strategy and change the nature of armed conflict.
Kenneth is the author of I, Warbot: The Dawn of Artificially Intelligent Conflict (Hurst, 2021), Strategy, Evolution, and War: From Apes to Artificial Intelligence (Georgetown University Press, 2018), ‘Artificial Intelligence: A Revolution in Strategic Affairs?’ 60(5) Survival (2018) 7-32, and ‘Strategy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’ (with Kareem Ayoub), 39(5-6) Journal of Strategic Studies (2016) 793-819.
- Episode 10: Are Swarms the Future of Lethal Autonomous Weapons | 8 December 2021
Paola and Marta interview Dr. Giacomo Persi Paoli, Programme Lead for Security and Technology Programme at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). In this episode he talks about the next generation of lethal autonomous weapons systems – robot swarms, and their technical and operational features.
Giacomo is the author of Swarm Robotics: Technical and Operational Overview of the Next Generation of Autonomous Systems (with Merel Ekelhof) (UNIDIR 2020).