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How does the development of autonomous weapon systems impact the UK’s position on the global stage? Lords Committee takes evidence

Wednesday 29 March 2023

At 10am on Thursday 30 March the Lords Artificial Intelligence in Weapons Systems Committee will hold the second public evidence session on how the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems will impact the UKs foreign policy and its position on the global stage.

The Committee will hear from: 

  • Yasmin Afina, Research Associate, Chatham House 
  • Dr Vincent Boulanin, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 
  • Charlie Ovink, Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs at United Nations 

The evidence session will be available to watch in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster or on Parliament TV.

Possible question topics include: 

  • Possible benefits and concerns associated with autonomous weapons systems
  • Human involvement in relation to autonomous weapons systems
  • The impact the development of autonomous weapons systems by the UK on its position on the global stage 

Background:  

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.  

Throughout its inquiry the Committee will be looking at a wide range of issues surrounding autonomous weapons systems, 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 autonomous weapons systems. 

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