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Lethal Autonomous WeaponsRe-Examining the Law and Ethics of Robotic Warfare$
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Jai Galliott, Duncan MacIntosh, and Jens David Ohlin

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197546048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197546048.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

Autonomous Weapons and the Future of Armed Conflict

Autonomous Weapons and the Future of Armed Conflict

(p.175) 11 Autonomous Weapons and the Future of Armed Conflict
Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Alex Leveringhaus

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how autonomous weapons systems (AWS) impact the armed conflicts of the future. Conceptually, the chapter argues that AWS should not be seen as on a par with precision weaponry, which makes them normatively problematic. Against this background, the chapter considers the relationship between AWS and two narratives, The Humane Warfare Narrative and the Excessive Risk Narrative, which have been used to theorize contemporary armed conflict. AWS, the chapter contends, are unlikely to usher in an era of humane warfare. Rather, they are likely to reinforce existing trends with regard to the imposition of excessive risk on noncombatants in armed conflict. Future conflicts in which AWS are deployed are thus likely to share many characteristics of the risk-transfer wars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The chapter concludes by putting these abstract considerations to the test in the practical context of military intervention.

Keywords:   autonomous weaponry, noncombatant immunity, humane warfare, risk transfer, intervention

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