Deliberating Autonomous Weapons

Stuart Russell has had a seminal influence on many people with his writings on aligning artificial intelligence with human values and regulating autonomous weapons systems. His work has highlighted the difficulties of effective arms control in this area and the lack of agreement that has emerged from almost a decade of meetings under the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. In this discussion of Stuart Russel's 'Banning Lethal Autonomous Weapons: An Education', Robert Trager suggest an alternative approach to governing autonomous weapons. Nonproliferation is a strategy that could be employed instead of an outright ban, as major powers do not agree to give up development of militarily important technologies for which they have no substitutes. This approach could be successful as it will prevent these technologies, particularly advanced, effective versions of them, from spreading. Nonproliferation is not simple, and it is not the ideal. It would require significant focus on the part of major powers, including security guarantees for countries that give up a means of defense. Although the success of this strategy is uncertain, it could be worth trying.

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