The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

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Policy and Research Papers

Towards Responsible Autonomy - The Ethics of RAS in a Military Context

The accelerating arms race in Artificial Intelligence and the diffusion of cheap, technologically advanced military systems among state and non-state actors, compel countries to adopt robotic and autonomous systems (RAS). This is due to not only the prospect of lagging behind allies, but the notion that adversaries use RAS to gain a significant military advantage and escalation dominance. How can countries stay competitive, without violating core national and international ethical principles? This paper discusses the key ethical challenges spanning human agency, human dignity and responsibility in the operation of RAS.

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