The CCW Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) took place from 13 to 16 May 2014 at the United Nations in Geneva.
At the 2013 CCW Meeting of High Contracting Parties, a new mandate on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) was agreed on. The mandate states:
“…Chairperson will convene in 2014 a four-day informal Meeting of Experts, from 13 to 16 May 2014, to discuss the questions related to emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems, in the context of the objectives and purposes of the Convention. He will, under his own responsibility, submit a report to the 2014 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, objectively reflecting the discussions held.”
The Agenda is available.
|Director General of UNOG|
|Republic of Korea|
|Campaign to Stop Killer Robots|
|Nobel Women’s Initiative|
|Association for Aid and Relief, Japan|
|Human Rights Watch|
|International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC)|
|Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)|
|Technical Issues (Part 1)|
|Dr. Raja Chatila, Centre National de la Recherce Scientifique, France: The concept of autonomy|
|Dr. Paul Scharre, Centre for a New American Security, USA: Existing systems and technologies. Is there a trend towards increasing autonomy?|
|Professor Ronald Arkin, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA|
|Professor Noel Sharkey, University of Shefield, UK|
|Technical Issues (Part 2)|
|Dr. Jean-Paul Laumond, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France: Robotique humanoide (Humanoid Robotics)|
|Mr. Hajime Wakuda, Director for Defense Industry, Aerospace and Defense Industry Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan: Robotics and applications|
|Dr. Yong Woon Park, Director, Principal Researcher, Agency for Defense Development (Defense Unmanned Technology Centre), Republic of Korea: The Trend of Autonomous Technology for Military Robot (with robotic views of Autonomy)|
|Dr. Quentin Ladetto, Director, Future Technologies, Research Management and Operation Research, Federal Department of Defence, Switzerland|
|Ethics and Sociology|
|Dr. Dominique Lambert, Université de Namur, Belgium: The ethics of robotics and the human-machine interrelation|
|Dr. Peter Asaro, Stanford Law School, USA, & Vice-Chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control: Ethical questions raised by military applications of robotics|
|Legal Aspects (Part 1) International Humanitarian Law|
|Dr. Nils Melzer, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland: Principle of humanity and Martens Clause|
|Dr. Matthew Waxman, Columbia Law University, USA: Implementation of Article 36 and Jus in bello|
|Dr. Marco Sassoli, Geneva Academy, Switzerland: LAWS – advantages and problems compared with other weapon systems from the point of view of IHL|
|Legal Aspects (Part 2) Other areas of international law|
|Dr. Thilo Marauhn, University of Giessen, Germany: Responsibility and accountability|
|Dr. Christof Heyns, University of Pretoria, South Africa: Human Rights Law issues|
|Dr. Nils Melzer, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland: Jus ad bellum|
|Operational and Military Aspects|
|Dr. Mark Hagerott, United States Naval Academy, USA|
|Dr. Heigo Sato, Takushoku University, Japan: Military implications of LAWS and possible ways to develop a risk management scheme|
|Lt. Col. Olivier Madiot, French Armed Forces: Views of the Joint Staff|
|Col. (Ret.) Wolfgang Richter, Germany: Utility and limitations of the use of LAWS in military operations|
|Summaries by the Friends of the Chair|
|Technical issues – Ambassador Michael Biontino (Germany)|
|Ethics and sociological issues – Ambassador Pedro Motta Pinto Coelho (Brazil)|
|Legal aspects (Part 1) – Ambassador Aya Thiam (Mali)|
|Legal aspects (Part 2) – Ambassador Yvette Stevens (Sierra Leone)|
|Operational and military aspects – Chair, Ambassador Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel (France)|
|International Campaign to Stop Killer Robots|
Guidance on registering for the Meeting of Experts is attached here.
Press release by the International Committee of the Red Cross on lethal autonomous weapons systems
Meeting of Experts – Debate on the pros and cons of lethal autonomous weapons systems, Tuesday 13 May, afternoon session, Conference Room XIX
The Meeting of Experts will include a debate between two leading robotics experts – Professor Ronald Arkin and Professor Noel Sharkey. In preparation for this debate, the following articles by Professor Arkin and Sharkey are available:
Arkin, Ronald – Lethal Autonomous Systems and the Plight of the Non-combatant
Sharkey, Noel – The evitability of autonomous robots warfare
Tuesday, May 13: The Need for New International Law- Moderated by Ms. Sarah Knuckey of New York University and featuring:
- Ms. Bonnie Docherty, Human Rights Watch
- Mr. Brian Wood, Amnesty International
- Prof. David Akerson, International Committee on Robot Arms Control
Wednesday, May 14: Technical and Operational Concerns- Moderated by Prof. Denise Garcia of the International Committee on Robot Arms Control
(ICRAC) and featuring:
- Prof. Noel Sharkey, ICRAC
- Dr. Heather Roff, ICRAC
- Dr. Juergen Altmann, ICRAC
- Ms. Maya Brehm, Article 36
Thursday, May 15: Ethical and Moral Concerns- Moderated by Dr. Steve Wright of ICRAC and featuring:
- Dr. Peter Asaro, ICRAC
- Ms. Miriam Struyk, PAX
- Dr. Charli Carpenter, Article 36
Friday, May 16: The Way Forward –Moderated by Beatrice Fihn of WILPF and featuring:
- Ms. Jody Williams, Nobel Women’s Initiative and Nobel Peace Laureate
- Ambassador Jayathana Dhanapala, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
- Mr. Steve Goose, Human Rights Watch
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
Potentially LAWS could identify and attack a target without human intervention. This issue was first brought to the international community’s attention by Human Rights Watch in its report titled “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots”. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots as part of its advocacy on LAWS produced this short film explaining the background to LAWS and work being undertaken within the United Nations and civil society.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots attended the Meeting of Experts. Attached here is a list of their experts. During the Meeting of Experts the Campaign hosted four side events.
Background information on LAWS
LAWS is a very new issue. Below are articles on LAWS that may be useful to delegations:
American Society of International Law – Panel on Autonomous Weaponry and Armed Conflict
Anderson, Kenneth and Waxman, Matthew – Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapons Systems: Why a Ban Won’t Work and How the Laws of War Can
Marchant, Gary; Allenby, Braden; Arkin, Ronald; Barrett, Edward; Borenstein, Jason; Gaudet, Lyn; Kitterie, Orde; Lin, Patrick; Lucas, George; O’Meara, Richard; and Silberman, Jared – International Governance of Autonomous Military Robots (from The Colombia, Science and Technology Law Review)
Marsh, Nicholas (2014) Defining the Scope of Autonomy, PRIO Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Lin, Ptrick; Bekey, George; and Abney, Keith – Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design
Sharkey, Noel – Weapons of Indiscriminate Lethality
International Institute of Humanitarian Law – International Humanitarian Law and New Weapon Technologies
The four-day meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems held under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) concluded today.
This was the very first step by States, United Nations organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations to examine the implications of autonomous weapons. The meeting attracted record attendance. Discussions were held on the ethical, legal, military and technical aspects of these weapons systems.
“Autonomous weapons are a complex issue. We had very fruitful discussions on many aspects of lethal autonomous weapons systems. The discussions held during the meeting took place in very constructive atmosphere and showed that there is a real interest in continuing to explore the issue at the CCW,” said Ambassador Jean-Hugues Simon Michel of France, who chaired the meeting. “The challenging nature of autonomous weapons was reflected in highly interactive and lively debates.”
CCW States parties will take a decision on future work on autonomous weapons at their formal meeting in November.
For use of the information media; not an official record
Mathematics Of Murder, Autonomous Cars and Robotic Soldiers: Should A Robot Sacrifice Your Life To Save Two?
PRIO Researchers Contribute to Debate on Lethal Autonomous Weapons
… discuss the challenges of a future prohibition of lethal autonomous weapons systems, in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and NRK Ytring.
No matter how sophisticated autonomous weapons systems are, they can never … May 13-16 to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems such as drones. … “Autonomous weapon systems technology makes war too easy and …
Robotics Expert to Debate Pros and Cons of Autonomous Weapons at the UN
Should robots kill without human supervision?
Calls for ban on “killer” robots in theatres of war
Why the United Nations Is Talking About Killer Robots
Killer robots, or “lethal autonomous weapons systems” are machines that would be able to select their targets without direct human mediation.