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Ethics, Law and Military Technology

Cyberwar, drones, autonomous weapon systems, state surveillance, the potential for enhancing individual warfighters’ biological capacities – all these are new developments in technology which throw up challenges for militaries and policy-makers. In many cases, a new technology offers some kind of advantage to the military which adopts it, in terms of tactical performance, or strategic preparation, but which raise difficult ethical questions concerning whether and what the limits are on when these are used. Should there be an international convention banning the use of so-called ‘killer robots’? Could a cyberattack constitute a casus belli? Scholars at ELAC address these and related questions, both at the theoretical level and in engagement with policy-makers (Simpson, Akande).  Our work includes early engagement with the debates on the ethics of the use of autonomous weapons and on the legal framework regulating the use of armed drones.