Debate: The ethics of military technology – Tuesday 5 November

The ethics of military technology
Debate in ‘Spui 25’ (Amsterdam) in co-operation with NWO Humanities, Tuesday 5 November 8 pm – 10 pm

Modern warfare is increasingly carried out by remotely operated, unmanned combat systems. Drones are a well-known example, but these are only the first step towards increased automation. Next might be lethal weapons that, once programmed, seek out their target by themselves and decide whether or not to liquidate it without any human intervention. These so-called ‘killer robots’ challenge us to rethink our military ethics. Should they be banned altogether, because we do not want to leave decisions on life and death to machines? Or should we appreciate that fully autonomous lethal weapons enable us to limit bloodshed to a minimum? Can they be designed in such a way that our moral and legal requirements are met? These questions are addressed in the project Military Human Enhancement in the research programme Responsible Innovation of NWO. Researcher Alexander Leveringhaus will elaborate on the findings so far and share his thoughts with Frans Osinga of the Dutch Defense Academy, Miriam Struyk of IKV Pax Christi and the public. Moderator Sandra Rottenberg will lead the debate.

About the speakers

Alexander Leveringhaus is postdoctoral researcher at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict and the Delft University of Technology. He works within the NWO-project Military Human Enhancement – Design for Responsibility and Combat Systems. Leveringhaus advised the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial and arbitrary executions about autonomous and lethal combat systems.

Frans Osinga is professor of Military Operational Sciences at the Dutch Defense Academy in Breda. Formerly, Osinga worked at Clingendael, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, and at the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk (US).

Miriam Struyk is program director Security and Disarmament at peace organization IKV Pax Christi. She co-initiated the campaign ‘Stop killer robots’ endorsed by an international network of NGO’s.

The debate will be held in academic-cultural centre ‘Spui 25’, which is located at Spui 25 in Amsterdam. Admission is free, but registration is obligatory.

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