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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

The Robot Dogs of War

The Robot Dogs of War

(p.25) 2 The Robot Dogs of War
Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Deane-Peter Baker

Oxford University Press

The prospect of robotic warriors striding the battlefield has, somewhat unsurprisingly, been shaped by perceptions drawn from science fiction. While illustrative, such comparisons are largely unhelpful for those considering potential ethical implications of autonomous weapons systems. In this chapter, I offer two alternative sources for ethical comparison. Drawing from military history and current practice for guidance, this chapter highlights the parallels that make mercenaries—the ‘dogs of war’—and military working dogs—the actual dogs of war—useful lenses through which to consider Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems—the robot dogs of war. Through these comparisons, I demonstrate that some of the most commonly raised ethical objections to autonomous weapon systems are overstated, misguided, or otherwise dependent on outside circumstance.

Keywords:   autonomous weapon systems, comparative military ethics, emerging military technology, mercenaries, military dogs

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