Robert Sparrow recently argued in this journal that several initially plausible arguments in favor of the deployment of autonomous weapon systems (AWS) in warfare are in fact flawed, and that the deployment of AWS faces a serious moral objection.
What interests do states have in assisting and protecting vulnerable populations beyond their borders? Today, confronted as we are with civil wars, mass atrocities, and humanitarian catastrophes that have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians and generated the displacement of sixty million more, this question is as urgent as it has ever been.
In this interview, Professor Robert Sparrow of Monash University speaks to the journal about his work on ethical issues raised by new technologies. The conversation focuses on Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS), often referred to as “killer robots.”
In this important new work, historian Sarah Bridger explores the ambivalent role of scientists in U.S. policy debates over national defense issues from the 1950s to the 1980s. This is a significant contribution to our understanding of the evolution of the scientific professions in the shadow of the national security state.
What comes to mind when we hear the word “drone”? For many of us, it is the image of a General Atomics MQ-1B Predator drone launching a Hellfire missile at a suspected militant target. But is this picture beginning to change? Should this picture change?
Frowe argues from the revisionist just war position, accepting that this is the correct interpretation of just war principles. This view misses something important about the realities of war and is simply too impractical to be applicable to the entire continuum of violence in the international realm.
The set of principles proposed by Brunstetter and Braun to comprise jus ad vim is redundant, and the project stems from a largely implausible understanding of the principles of jus ad bellum.
There is increasing speculation within military and policy circles that the future of armed conflict is likely to include extensive deployment of autonomous weapon systems. The ethical case for allowing autonomous targeting, at least in specific restricted domains, is stronger than critics have typically acknowledged—but such targeting still remains ethically problematic.