TU Wien DIGHUM

Autonomous Weapon Systems – Future Paths for Regulation

Elisabeth Hoffberger-Pippan and Caroline Wörgötter talk about autonomous weapons and discuss the possible ways to regulation.

Panelists: Elisabeth Hoffberger-Pippan (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany), Caroline Wörgötter (BMEIA, Austria), Moderator: Allison Stanger (Middlebury College, USA)
Panelists: Elisabeth Hoffberger-Pippan (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany), Caroline Wörgötter (BMEIA, Austria), Moderator: Allison Stanger (Middlebury College, USA)

June 25th 2024

  • 17:00 – 18:30 CEST
  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.

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About the Event

June 25, 2024
5:00 – 6:30 PM
(17:00) CEST

We are looking forward to seeing you:
Participate via Zoom (Password: 0dzqxqiy). The talk will also be live-streamed and recorded on the DIGHUM YouTube Channel.

Abstract

Recent conflicts, from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine to Israel’s war against Hamas, show that AI has become ubiquitous in contemporary battlefields. But what if AI is not only used to support human decision-making, but to decide – without human intervention or oversight – who shall live and who shall die?

Autonomous weapon systems are weapon systems that can identify and neutralize targets without further human input. They have been the center of discussions within the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (GGE) in Geneva for the past years. Achieving progress in Geneva has always been challenging, not least because decision-making in the abovementioned forum requires consensus of all States Parties to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Great power rivalry and an impending arms race have created tension in the GGE. It was mostly Russia, which has obstructed any progress, especially since its invasion of Ukraine.

States have thus moved to other fora to achieve – at least – some progress. One of these steps included a stronger involvement of the UN General Assembly. In December 2022, Austria presented a Joint Statement on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems in the First Committee at the 77th United Nations General Assembly Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons. Only one year later, the General Assembly adopted the first-ever Resolution on lethal autonomous weapon systems, with the support of 164 States.

The panel will first examine the technological aspects of autonomous weapon systems and discuss different types of weapon systems featuring autonomy, which have already been deployed on the battlefield, such as air defense systems or loitering munition. The panel will also explore the various possible avenues to regulate these systems, most notably the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. In his New Agenda for Peace of 2023, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the various challenges concerning autonomous weapon systems and called upon the international community to agree on legally binding rules by 2026.

Slides

The slides will be available for download after the event.

Video

The recording will be available after the event.