The impact of emerging technologies on the law of armed conflict
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2019
When confronted with a new weapons technology, international law scholars, military lawyers, and civil society activists regularly raise two questions: Are new regulations needed? And are they needed now? Answering these in the affirmative will lead to a Matryoshka doll-like number of additional questions to determine what form the new regulations should take. Many engaging pieces address these questions by focusing on one exciting or concerning new technology—say, autonomous weapon systems, cyber operations, swarming drones, nanobots, genetically engineered viruses, or transformative artificial intelligence—and its current or likely impact on a law or legal regime. The aim of this chapter, however, is to step back and contemplate more generally whether and when new regulations are appropriate. Accordingly, Section II reviews the main categories of technology-fostered legal disruption, Section III tackles the question of whether a given technology will require new law, and Section IV weighs the respective benefits of precautionary bans, a wait-and-see approach, and proactive regulation.
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