Laws for LAWS
By Elizabeth Minor
Emerging military technologies like lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) are dangerously under-regulated. It’s time to change that.
The automation of decision-making has impacts and implications in many areas of society. Increasing autonomy in weapons systems represents the most deadly iteration and moving forward towards legal regulation is an urgent task.
A broad range of countries – including many involved in these technological and military developments – have acknowledged that regulation of lethal autonomous weapons should be based on a two-pronged approach: prohibiting autonomous weapons systems that do not allow for sufficient human control, while devising positive obligations for the human control of those systems that are not prohibited.
In 2023, states should take steps to build on this common ground towards establishing clear international legal standards for those states that are willing to participate. Such standards can, in turn, exert a wider influence. Committed states should promote policy convergence on the key elements of regulation; examine a prohibition on autonomous weapons systems that target people; and work towards initiating negotiations through the UN General Assembly or a standalone process.