Autonomous Weapon Systems: the importance of regulation and investment
The Dutch government asked the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) and the Advisory Committee on Issues of Public International Law (CAVV) to draft an advisory report on the development and use of autonomous weapon systems. The government thus requested an update of the 2015 advisory report Autonomous Weapon Systems: The Need for Meaningful Human Control, partly with a view to the five-yearly Review Conference of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), to be held in late 2021.
Since 2015, the development and use of autonomous weapon systems have increased significantly internationally. The United States, China and Russia, as well as countries such as Israel, Turkey and South Korea, are actively developing autonomous weapon systems and investing in relevant
technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics. Recent shifts in geopolitical relations have reduced the likelihood of an international consensus on the development and use of autonomous weapon systems. Meanwhile, concerns are increasingly being raised in political and social debates and in legal and ethical reflections regarding the use of autonomous weapon systems, and in particular in reference to the lack of clear regulation.
In this new advisory report the AIV and the CAVV address these developments and debates, and pay specific attention to the concerns over the use of autonomous weapon systems, addressing both the advantages and disadvantages of such use. The AIV and the CAVV thereby answer the government’s questions, as set out in the request for advice.