Chris Jenks and Rain Liivoja: Machine autonomy and the constant care obligation

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The debate about the way the international community should deal with autonomous weapon systems has been ongoing for some five years now. During this time, the focus has been on autonomy in what the ICRC has referred to as the ‘critical functions’ of a weapon system—its capacity to select and attack targets.

We argue that while a weapon system focus is appropriate for the discussions occurring in the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), the application of international humanitarian law (IHL) to autonomy in weapon systems is much broader, extending also to ‘non-critical functions’.

Associate Professors Chris Jenks and Rain Liivoja writes for the ICRC Humanitarian Law & Policy blog.