Past event

Conference

Autonomous Military Technologies

Policy and Governance for Next Generation Defence Systems

24 Feb 2014 - 09:30 to 25 Feb 2014 - 15:00

Chatham House, London

The Limits on War and Preserving the Peace

 Advances in artificial intelligence are accelerating the development of the next generation of defence systems with autonomous functions and capabilities.
    
The potential for greater levels of independent decision-making by lethal and non-lethal technologies raises critical questions for policy-makers, industry and civil society. Establishing policy, command-level and legal principles presents an on-going challenge and requires considered debate.

This Chatham House conference will bring together participants from across the range of stakeholders to consider a wide range of viewpoints. Discussions will address:

  • Policy and command-level considerations

  • Technical developments in autonomous systems

  • Legal and ethical challenges for autonomous weapons

  • The role of technology in reshaping warfare

  • Dr Darren Ansell

    • Space and Aerospace Engineering Lead School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
  • Dr Louise Arimatsu

    • Associate Fellow, International Law
  • Richard Barrett

    • Senior Fellow, National Security Studies Program
  • Charles A Blanchard

    • former General Counsel
  • Rachel Briggs

    • Research and Policy Director, Security and Integration
  • Christopher Coker

    • Professor of International Relations
  • Professor Missy Cummings

    • Director, Humans and Autonomy Laboratory
  • Chris Garside

    • Engineering Director, Future Combat Air Systems
  • Stephen Goose

    • Executive Director, Arms Division
  • Christof Heyns

    • UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
  • Dinesh Kumar

    • Scientific Advisor
  • Dr Alexander Leveringhaus

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Dr Patricia Lewis

    • Research Director, International Security
  • Dr Natasha McCarthy

    • Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy
  • Dr Nils Melzer

    • Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow Emerging Security Challenges Programme
  • Colonel USMC (Ret) Dr Bill Powers

    • Research Fellow, Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities
  • Elizabeth Quintana

    • Director of Military Sciences
  • Paul Scharre

    • Fellow and Project Director for the 20YY Warfare Initiative
  • Professor Michael Schmitt

    • Chairman, International Law Department
  • Dr Murray Shanahan

    • Professor of Cognitive Robotics
  • Noel Sharkey

    • Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
  • Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel

    • Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
  • Jeremy Smith

    • Head of Simulation and Analytics
  • David Turns

    • Senior Lecturer in International Law
  • Nathalie Weizmann

    • Legal Adviser, Arms Unit
  • Elizabeth Wilmshurst, CMG

    • Associate Fellow, International Law
  • Jody Williams

    • Nobel Laureate, and
  • Caroline Wyatt

    • Defence Correspondent

This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists
Press can request a press pass using the form below.

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If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact Zara Berry on +44 (0)20 7957 5756 or email [email protected].

If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact Zara Berry on +44 (0)20 7957 5756 or email [email protected]

Venue

Chatham House

[email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7957 5729
Fax: +44 (0)20 7957 5710


If you wish to book the venue for your event please phone +44 (0)20 7314 2764


Conference Unit
Chatham House
10 St James's Square
London
SW1Y 4LE
UK


Accommodation

Although we cannot book accommodation for delegates, we have arranged a reduced rate at some nearby hotels, where you can book your own accommodation. Please inform the hotel that you will be attending a conference at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) to qualify for the Institute's reduced rate.

Please note all rates are subject to availability.

Flemings Mayfair
Half Moon Street
Mayfair
London W1J 7BH
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817
Standard Single £190 + VAT

The Cavendish London
81 Jermyn Street
London
SW1Y 6JF
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7930 2111
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7839 2125
Standard Single £205 + VAT

To book The Cavendish online

The Stafford London by Kempinski
St James's Place
London
SW1A 1NJ
Tel: 020 7518 1125
Fax: 020 7493 7121
Standard Single £230 +VAT

DAY ONE
Monday 24 February

Session One
Governance and Command in Modern Warfare
09:30 – 11:00

Opening remarks from the Chair

Chair
Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Moderated panel discussion

  • How can policymakers develop an adequate definition of autonomous defence systems for the purpose of establishing principles of governance?

  • What would an international regulatory framework for the development, deployment or use of lethal autonomous weapons look like in order to be practicable?

  • Are autonomous technologies a solution to potential crises in military manpower?

  • How are remotely piloted and autonomous air systems currently being utilized?

Moderator
Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Panellists

Stephen Goose, Executive Director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch

Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament

Professor Missy Cummings, Director, Humans and Automation Laboratory, Duke University

Elizabeth Quintana, Director of Military Sciences, Royal United Services Institute

Questions and discussion

11:00 - 11:30 Refreshments
 

Session Two
Evolution of Technology
11:30 - 15:00

i)    What are Autonomous Technologies?
11:30 - 13:00

  • How does the US Department of Defense address the issue of autonomy in weapon systems? What are the implications for the international policy debate on autonomous weapons?

  • To what extent do existing military technologies possess autonomous functionality?

  • The development of unmanned air vehicle technologies

  • What are the emerging capabilities and applications of autonomous weapons technology?
ChairDr Natasha McCarthy, Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, University College London

Speakers
Paul Scharre, Fellow and Project Director for the 20YY Warfare Initiative, Center for a New American Security

Dr Darren Ansell, Space and Aerospace Engineering Lead, School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Central Lancashire

Chris Garside, Engineering Director, Future Combat Air Systems, BAE Systems

Dr Dinesh Kumar, Scientific Advisor to Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, Ministry of Defence, India

Questions and discussion

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch


ii)    Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy
14:00 – 15:00

  • What are the problems of artificial intelligence for autonomous weapons? How can they be addressed through human supervisory control?
  • To what extent can artificially-intelligent military technologies be programmed to make responsible decisions in dynamic environments?

Chair
Dr Murray Shanahan, Professor of Cognitive Robotics, Imperial College London

Speakers
Noel Sharkey, Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, University of Sheffield

Jeremy Smith, Head of Simulation and Analytics, Cranfield Defence and Security

Questions and discussion

15:00 - 15:30 Refreshments

Session Three
The International Legal Context
15:30 – 17:30

Moderated panel discussion

  • What challenges do lethal autonomous technologies pose for international humanitarian law and the laws of armed conflict?
     
  • To what extent can autonomous weapons be made to comply with the rules of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack?
     
  • Can a system of checks and balances mitigate the risks of lethal decision-making by autonomous technologies?
     
  • How can domestic and international institutions promote transparency and accountability in the design, development, deployment and supervision of autonomous systems?
     
  • Who should be held accountable for unlawful actions and unintended consequences?

Moderator
Elizabeth Wilmshurst, CMG, Associate Fellow, International Law, Chatham House

Panellists

Charles A Blanchard, former General Counsel, US Department of the Air Force

Nathalie Weizmann, Legal Adviser, Arms Unit, International Committee of the Red Cross

Professor Michael Schmitt, Chairman, International Law Department, United States Naval War College

Dr Nils Melzer, Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow, Emerging Security Challenges Programme, Geneva Centre for Security Policy

David Turns, Senior Lecturer in International Law, Cranfield Defence and Security

Questions and discussion

17:30 End of day one and reception hosted by Chatham House


DAY TWO
Tuesday 25 February

Session Four
Establishing Ethical Paradigms
09:30-11:00

  • What are the implications for the principles of human rights of allowing machines to make lethal decisions?
     
  • What are the ethical considerations for the development of autonomous weapons?
     
  • How is the conduct and character of war being reshaped by remote warfare technologies? 
     
  • What are the common conceptions of autonomous weapons and how are they affecting the debate on ethics?

Chair
Dr Louise Arimatsu, Associate Fellow, International Law, Chatham House

Speakers
Jody Williams, Nobel Laureate, and Co-founder, Nobel Women’s Initiative

Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

Professor Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Alexander Leveringhaus, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict, University of Oxford 

Questions and discussion


11:00 - 11:30 Refreshments

Session Five
Changing Frontiers of War
11:30 – 13:00

  • Is there a move towards a new age of technology in modern warfare? What is the role of technology in supporting military capabilities?
     
  • How is the role of robotics in military conflict likely to develop? Is a robotic arms race inevitable?
     
  • What is the risk of autonomous systems empowering non-state sanctioned and terror-related groups?

Chair
Caroline Wyatt, Defence Correspondent, BBC

Speakers
Paul Scharre, Fellow and Project Director for the 20YY Warfare Initiative, Center for a New American Security

Colonel USMC(Ret) Dr Bill Powers, Research Fellow, Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

Richard Barrett, Senior Fellow, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation

Rachel Briggs, Research and Policy Director, Security and Integration, Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Questions and discussion

13:00 End of conference and lunch

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2014