January, 2022

Perverse Consequences of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

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Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) refer to military systems that employ human-made algorithms to independently identify, search for, and engage targets without human intervention. LAWS refer to autonomous weapons systems with total or at least near-total independence from human control after activation. Although they have existed for decades, in recent years that have been ongoing efforts to develop offensive LAWS, as opposed to defensive ones, in several of the world’s most militarily and technologically advanced countries. The purpose of our paper is to present six perverse consequences of using offensive LAWS. Because LAWS will transform warfare and policing with potentially high, negative costs on human wellbeing, it is crucial to consider these costs as part of the overall evaluation of LAWS.