Lessons from CCW Protocol IV on Blinding Laser Weapons for the Current Discussions about Autonomous Weapons
A memorandum prepared for the delegates Convention on Conventional Weapons Delegates.
In November 2013, the High Contracting Parties of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) agreed to hold informal international discussions on “questions related to emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems” in May 2014. This agreement is an important first step towards a potential ban on weapons that would be able to identify and select targets on their own, without meaningful human intervention.
The humanitarian, ethical and legal impacts of fully autonomous weapons systems will persist regardless of when they are deployed or what utility they may have just as the humanitarian and health impacts of blinding lasers were not dependant on when the weapons would be deployed.