Shifting from Autonomous Weapons to Military Networks

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
Léonard Van Rompaey PhD Fellow, Artificial Intelligence and Legal Disruption Research Group, Centre for International Law, Conflict and Crisis, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark,

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The persistent anthropomorphism of lethal autonomous weapons systems (laws) as the replacement for human soldiers creates irrelevant expectations of physical embodiment and cognitive individualization. This anthropomorphism taints the analysis and discussions on the adaptation of international humanitarian law (ihl) by excluding relevant technologies from the scope of discussions.

Shifting from laws to a network-centric sociotechnical systems perspective allows to remedy the under inclusiveness of the laws perspective by shifting away from the salient features of laws, in favour of a focus on the interactions with, and influence that the technology has on human decision-making in warfare. By criticizing the relevance of the technological focus of the current diplomatic process, the paper argues that the network-centric perspective is not only more accurate, but also more helpful and practical in adapting ihl to the armed conflicts of the twenty-first century.

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