February 23, 2016

Autonomous weapons systems: Five key human rights issues for consideration


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Over the past decade, there have been extensive advances in artificial intelligence and other technologies. These will make possible the development and deployment of fully autonomous weapons systems which can select, attack, kill and wound human targets, and will be able to operate without effective human control. These weapons systems are often referred to as Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LARs), Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) and, more comprehensively, Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS). This briefing paper will examine the implications of AWS in the context of international law, particularly international human rights law and standards.