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Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems [Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues]




The topic of lethal autonomous weapon systems has recently caught public attention due to extensive news coverage and apocalyptic declarations from famous scientists and technologists. Weapon systems with increasing autonomy are being developed due to fast improvements in machine learning, robotics, and automation in general. These developments raise important and complex security, legal, ethical, societal, and technological issues that are being extensively discussed by scholars, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), militaries, governments, and the international community. Unfortunately, the robotics community has stayed out of the debate, for the most part, despite being the main provider of autonomous technologies. In this column, we review the main issues raised by the increase of autonomy in weapon systems and the state of the international discussion. We argue that the robotics community has a fundamental role to play in these discussions, for its own sake, to provide the often-missing technical expertise necessary to frame the debate and promote technological development in line with the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) objective of advancing technology to benefit humanity.

Author(s): Righetti, L. and Pham, Q.C. and Madhavan, R and Chatila, R
Journal: IEEE Robotics \& Automation Magazine
Volume: 25
Number (issue): 1
Pages: 123--126
Year: 2018
Month: March

Department(s): Movement Generation and Control
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

DOI: 10.1109/MRA.2017.2787267
URL: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8314620/


  title = {Lethal {Autonomous} {Weapon} {Systems} [{Ethical}, {Legal}, and {Societal} {Issues}]},
  author = {Righetti, L. and Pham, Q.C. and Madhavan, R and Chatila, R},
  journal = {IEEE Robotics \& Automation Magazine},
  volume = {25},
  number = {1},
  pages = {123--126},
  month = mar,
  year = {2018},
  url = {https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8314620/},
  month_numeric = {3}