Autonomous Weapons and International Law

This post is an introduction to a recently published (October 2015) report, titled: The International-Law Dimension of Autonomous Weapons Systems, by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the international policy analysis group.

Since the publication of my post, “How spending 5 years in the French Foreign Legion helped me find direction“, I have been contacted by a number of people who wish to join the Legion and ask for advice or tips.

On most of these occasions, I have found that these seekers of adventure have not done the necessary due diligence prior to making the decision to join the military. It is also the primary reason for which they contact me.

What a number of them fail to understand, is that this sector of employment is rapidly changing and that the experiences I cited, no longer occur in the same context due to the changing face of conflict resolution.

The world is currently in the throes of multiple paradigmatic alterations due to technological shifts and changes in political discourses. As technological unemployment becomes a stark reality, the required skill-sets to work in any sector are being modified and the military sector is certainly not an exception. The adaptability to change is key to survival in this digital economy and peripheral awareness has pronounced gravitas.

With this regard, and the fact that there are a number of conflicts in different parts of the world, some young men and women might look at joining the state run military as a way of finding employment, developing a career and attain fulfillment. What a number of these volunteers fail to realise is that today’s armies are getting increasingly roboticized and there is a greater need of technicians who can write algorithms, than there is of a foot-soldier.

The socio-economic impacts and cultural analysis of this change can be the subject for a post by itself.  But what I wish to highlight, is that those people willing to engage in the military need to be aware of these changes prior to making a decision to join the military. By doing so they will have a better idea of what is expected of them, which skills do they need to develop and what are the possible career paths available to one in the military machine of the future.

The following report provides an excellent analysis of this subject from a legal and technical perspective. If the reader of this post is interested in joining the military, then going through this article and beginning a trajectory of due diligence ought to be the first step in his or her decision making process.

I personally did not do this prior to making the decision to join the military, but I had luck on my side. However, as the world continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid rate, this is a luxury that one cannot afford.

It is my sincerest hope that future recruits do not commit the same mistake and make an informed decision prior to commencing a life-changing experience.

The International-Law Dimension of Autonomous Weapons Systems

Image Source: Kevin-Davis-Photography


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