International Humanitarian Law

Syria: "A Madman Is Gassing His Own People"

Josh D. Scheinert | Posted 10.25.2013 | Canada
Josh D. Scheinert

In Syria we have been, perhaps rightfully, very concerned with getting ourselves caught in a situation where we have little control or influence, and whose end is unpredictable. Syria's civilians have paid the highest price of this calculus. Now, however, that calculus must change.

When U.S. Weapons are Autonomous, Who is Responsible?

Heather Roff | Posted 11.27.2012 | Canada
Heather Roff

The U.S. Department of Defense wants to enlarge the U.S. military's reliance on autonomous (i.e. self-directed) weapons in conflict. But a mission is not a person, it is a thing, and things cannot be held morally responsible. It is like saying that you want to hold your car responsible for breaking down on the way to work. You wouldn't say that your car "wronged" you, and you wouldn't seek to punish your car. Such a position on the ethics of autonomous systems reduces any questions of morality or responsibility.