This article identifies five factors that will shape the legal implications of the use of autonomous military systems. It contends that the systems which present legal challenges are those programmed to “make decisions” that are regulated by law. In so doing, they transfer control of, and responsibility for, those decisions away from those who have been traditionally seen as decision-makers to persons responsible for developing and deploying the system. The article also suggests that there may be limits to the extent to which the rules of international humanitarian law can appropriately regulate the altered relationship between soldiers and their increasingly autonomous weapon systems.
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