Predictability and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)

Does predictability provide an overriding concept and perhaps a metric for evaluating when LAWS are acceptable or when they might be unacceptable under international humanitarian law? Arguably, if the behavior of an autonomous weapon is predictable, deploying it might be considered no different from, for example, launching a ballistic missile. This, of course, presumes that we can know how predictable the behavior of a specific autonomous weapon will be. Over the past two years, this body has focused upon ethical and legal challenges to LAWS. In addition, there are contentions that autonomous weaponry will fail to perform as expected, will behave unpredictably on occasion, and are therefore inherently risky and liable to commit acts that violate IHL, even when this is not the intention of those who deploy the systems.…


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