What are the military drivers in the development of technology of new weapon systems? Do developments in artificial intelligence constitute a turning point in technology such as to warrant a bespoke response from the law? What then of the existing legal framework for the assessment of new weapons for their lawfulness as articulated by Article 36 of Additional Protocol I (AP I)? The impact of new technology in armed conflict brings with it, even under the extant legal paradigm, an obligation on belligerents to apply the rules such that applicable standards of behaviour may be at variance between those who possess new technology and those that don’t. Does this calls for a change in the law to acknowledge common but differentiated responsibilities or simply a renewed interpretation of what the applicable LOAC standards are? Does the law of unintended consequences mean that the changing nature of weapons systems will result in an increased level of attention and scrutiny applied to senior levels of the chain of command as the only “humans in the loop”?
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