College Lecturer at United Nations

14 June 2019

College lecturer, Dr Birgit Schippers, attended the recent meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems at the United Nations Office at Geneva. The meeting included delegations from the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and representatives from academia.

The discussions explored the potential challenges that Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) pose to International Humanitarian Law; delegates also sought to establish a common understanding of the meaning of autonomy in weapons systems, and they aimed to clarify the significance of human-machine interactions in the development and deployment of LAWS.

The topic of lethal autonomous weapons systems, colloquially known as ‘killer robots’, is a key concern of Dr Schippers’ current research on the ethics and politics of emerging technologies. During her time at the United Nations, Dr Schippers networked with colleagues from academia and with representatives from the International Committee for the Red Cross, and she held discussions with leading NGOs in the field, including the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the International Committee for Robot Arms Control and Article 36.

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