Home > Disarmament > Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems | Future of Life Institute

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems | Future of Life Institute

Described as the third revolution in warfare after gunpowder and nuclear weapons, lethal autonomous weapons (AWS) are weapon systems that can identify, select and engage a target without meaningful human control. Many semi-autonomous weapons in use today rely on autonomy for certain parts of their system but have a communication link to a human that will approve or make decisions. In contrast, a fully-autonomous system could be deployed without any established communication network and would independently respond to a changing environment and decide how to achieve its pre-programmed goals. It would have an increased range and would not be subject to communication jamming. Autonomy is present in many military applications that do not raise concerns such as take-off, landing, and refuelling of aircrafts, ground collision avoidance systems, bomb disposal and missile defence systems. The ethical, political and legal debate underway has been around autonomy in the use of force and the decision to take a human life.

Source: Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems – Future of Life Institute

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