UK Signals New Autonomous Weapons Doctrine – But what has become of LAWs Verification Debate?

Tom Hobson

In September 2017, the UK media and a great deal of the international technology and defence press, announced that the UK had laid out a new doctrine in regards to autonomous weaponry. The Guardian reported, on 10th September, that Britain’s military will “commit to ensuring that drones and other remote weaponry are always under human control, as part of a new doctrine designed to calm concerns about the development of killer robots.”[1]

The UK’s announced position on autonomous weaponry was released as part of the August 2017 “Joint Doctrine Publication 0-30.2 – Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”[2] As well as catching the attention of the relatively mainstream press, the document unsurprisingly provoked renewed discussion of the role for autonomous robots in the military, and the feasibility of a potential, pre-emptive ban.

The press framed the Ministry of Defence’s new doctrine as an almost direct response to the August 2017…

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