The idea that ‘robots don’t rape’, whereas human soldiers might, has been a formally acknowledged by a Special Rapporteur in the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council and adduced by various experts at the UN’s Meetings of Experts on lethal autonomous weapon systems. The argument is distinctly pro-autonomous weapons systems, and should be seen as part of the broader narrative on the apparent virtues of robotic warfare. In this chapter, the controversy is explored and technical and legal aspects are discussed. The first section covers the details of the debate. The subsequent sections tackle three limitations that make the application of conventional wartime rape and torture law to the use of autonomous weapons systems problematic: the question of distance, design-led safeguards; and the introduction of "kill switch" technology.
By entering this website, you consent to the use of technologies, such as cookies and analytics, to customise content, advertising and provide social media features. This will be used to analyse traffic to the website, allowing us to understand visitor preferences and improving our services. Learn more