Discussions on the weaponization of increasingly autonomous technologies most often focus on technical aspects of the weapon being considered, potential military missions and legality. This UNIDIR paper highlights some of the ethical and social issues that arise from—and underlie—this discussion. It suggests that far from being extraneous to the policy debate on the weaponization of increasingly autonomous technologies, ethics and social values are close to the core of this discussion. Although legal and technical discussions may produce information about possible technological trajectories, future applications and rules, they will not necessarily produce the insights, wisdom and prudence needed for sound policy that will serve national and international interests. This short paper is aimed at encouraging reflection on different ways that ethics, broadly construed to include social or cultural values, might influence consideration of the weaponization of increasingly autonomous technologies.
Citation: Security and Technology Programme, and Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme (2015). "The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies: Considering Ethics and Social Values", UNIDIR, Geneva.