A Brave Idea: Using Social Licence to regulate development of lethal autonomous weapons

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


International humanitarian law (IHL) is struggling to catch up with military technological development. The international community is increasingly alarmed at the prospect autonomous weapons are operating without human interface. The international community’s concern with autonomy enabling technology in weapon systems is whether these weapon systems that possess the ability to identify, select and attack military targets autonomously with little to no human interference can comply with existing IHL rules as well as be morally and ethically acceptable.

In this paper we explore an expanded concept of social licence to operate (SLO) to regulate the development process of the autonomous weapon systems. We believe it is more efficacious to hold the developers accountable to IHL during the developmental process instead of following an after-the-fact approach. This paper will also demonstrate that the process involved in issuing or revoking a social licence to operate has already begun to emerge in the area of IHL and autonomous weapon systems.

Additional information

This was a presentation at the 28th Annual Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE) Conference
Period12 Aug 2021
Event title28th Annual Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics Conference
Event typeConference