The Committee is considering the use of artificial intelligence in weapons systems. Advances in robotics and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), have led to step changes in many sectors, defence included. One such area of advancement and heightened interest is the creation of Automated Weapons Systems (AWS).
Autonomous weapons systems have been defined as systems that can select and attack a target without human intervention. These systems could revolutionise warfare, with some suggesting that they would be faster, more accurate and more resilient than existing weapons systems and could limit the casualties of war.
However, concerns have arisen about the ethics of these systems, how they can be used safely and reliably, whether they risk escalating wars more quickly, and their compliance with international humanitarian law. Much of the international policymaking surrounding Automated Weapons Systems has been focused on restricting their use, either through limitations or outright bans.
The Committee will be looking at a wide range of issues surrounding AWS, including:
- The challenges, risks and benefits associated with them.
- The technical, legal and ethical safeguards that are necessary to ensure that they are used safely, reliably and accountably.
- The sufficiency of current UK policy and the state of international policymaking on AWS.