The equilibrium of violence: accountability in the age of autonomous weapons systems
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Bringham young university international management review, Vol. 11, issue 1, Winter 2015, p. 12-40 : graph.
The law of armed conflict (LOAC) has fundamentally transformed since the Hague Conferences. Indeed, many critics of autonomous weapons systems discuss new technology as if Additional Protocol I (AP I), art. 36 and a host of other provisions do not exist or are not being enforced among developed nations. This paper frames the issue of LOAC and autonomous weapons systems as an economic market - a market of violence. Intuitively, the emergence of new technology improves productivity and results in lower costs and higher quantity produced. However, states are producers and their product is violence. Thus, technology has the potential to distort the economy of violence that is artificially maintained at an equilibrium point as determined by the LOAC. The paper concludes that the LOAC has developed and matured beyond the rudimentary stages that allowed abuses during WWI and WWII, that AP I, art. 36 acts as a tax on future weapons systems to maintain the equilibrium of violence at acceptable levels, and that if states wish to further control the spigot of technology, so to speak, they ought to impose additional "taxes" or costs on development in the form of accountability measures on attorneys and developers of autonomous weapons systems.
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