Morality in the process of war, or “jus in bello,” is one of the two principles of the Just War Theory doctrine, created by ethicists in an attempt to reduce the immorality of war. Autonomous weapons, which function without human control and have been used by the United States military since the Obama administration, may thus be unable to fulfill the requirements of jus in bello. So, is it possible for fully autonomous weaponry to ethically take human life in the context of war? As autonomous weapons cannot be held liable for their actions, lack the capacity to make crucial decisions on their own, and would have a profoundly negative effect on the civilian population, this paper argues that they are therefore unable to be used ethically and should not be participants in war.View More Autonomous Weapon Systems: Our New Soldiers, or a Disaster Waiting to Happen?
Autonomous weapon systems (AWS) are machines that can undertake lethal action in a combat scenario without the direct input of a human controller. This paper justifies the use of AWS under a rule utilitarian lens. Such weapons are more effective than human-operated systems, reduce collateral damage, and are superior at abiding by international law. Common counter arguments against AWS are also presented and refuted.View More Killing on Instinct: A Defense of Autonomous Weapon Systems for Offensive Combat