International humanitarian law and the changing technology of war
Leiden ; Boston : M. Nijhoff, 2013
Because a robot cannot replicate human emotive and perceptive traits at the present time, this chapter argues that offensive lethal autonomous robots (OLARs) are inherently illegal under IHL for three reasons. First, the fundamental rules of IHL - including the principles of distinction and proportionality - require the application of judgment and discretion. These terms necessarily refer to human judgment and discretion, which are not reducible to mathematical precision. Second, if technology provides OLARs with human-like judgment and discretion, they must then be legally analyzed as combatants. Under such analysis, OLARs as a class would be illegal, as they do not meet the IHL definition of a "member of an armed force". Finally, this chapter argues that OLARs are so contrary to considerations of humanity and public conscience that they should be banned regardless of the previous two arguments.