Research project

The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies (Phase III)

Phase III of the project will promote a practical understanding among policy-makers of the potential challenges raised by increasingly autonomous technological capabilities—and in particular learning systems—in the near to medium term. This format is designed to be accessible for government experts with diverse thematic and cultural backgrounds. To achieve this objective, the project is built upon three inter-connected pillars: supporting the GGE discussions starting in CCW; developing tech-gaming scenarios that help policy makers think through the implications of near-term technological progress on the developmental trajectory of autonomous weapon systems; and cross-disciplinary expert group meetings on learning systems, biases, and artificial intelligence.

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities.
In addition, dedicated project funding was received from the Government of Germany.

 

Phase II: The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies: Addressing Competing Narratives

Phase II of the project focused on bringing clarity to circular and polarized discussions on the weaponization of increasingly autonomous technologies. Through the successful format of small, expert-led discussions and public observation papers, the project examined substantive areas where there was common ground, identify areas requiring further investigation and indicate where other fields and disciplines might have something useful to contribute to the discussion in the arms control community.

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities.
In addition, dedicated project funding was received from the Governments of Canada, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

 

Phase I: The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies: Implications for Security and Arms Control

Given that governments have a responsibility to create or affirm sound policies about which uses of autonomy in weapon systems are legitimate—and that advances in relevant technologies are also creating pressure to do so—what is important for states to consider when establishing policy relating to the weaponization of increasingly autonomous technologies?

By convening a cross-disciplinary group of experts and scholars to consider this question, we hope to introduce clarity into the current policy discourse. Such diversity of perspectives is likely to bring relevant information to the conversation, bridge understandings between disciplines and identify areas where different stakeholders—including those in the arms control community, the human rights community, the defence community and the private sector—might work together to reach shared understandings. In addition to the collaborative work of the expert group, additional expertise were sought on specific topics. Throughout 2014, the project produced analysis, made presentations and actively participated in international discussions on autonomy in weapon systems.

This research project was carried out from December 2013 to January 2015.

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities.
In addition, dedicated project funding was received from the Governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland.