The Ethical and Legal Implications of the Development and use of Robotic and Autonomous Systems

The Ethical and Legal Implications of the Development and use of Robotic and Autonomous Systems

Written by  Cédric Foisseau, Abel Duclos, Bisera Karanakova, Daniela Cotelea. 

Robotics is one of the fastest-developing fields of technology in the 21st century. Robots are more and more present in our lives, which can have both positive and negative consequences. The central question about robotics is how we can manage it so that human interests and robotic development align. 

This paper reviews the ethical and legal debate concerning the development and use of robotic and autonomous systems. The first section provides ethical perspectives on the subject, exploring consequentialist and deontological approaches in particular. The second section discusses current developments in AWS and efforts at international regulation. In turn, the third section considers what principles of international law apply to this field in the absence of a specific convention concerning AWS. Finally, the fourth section reviews debates on the compatibility of AWS with international humanitarian law and offers perspectives on future efforts to jointly coordinate regulation on autonomous weapons systems.

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