Human Rights for Future Generations Seminar: Moral Panic and Conceptual Paradoxes: Critiquing & Reframing the Call to Ban Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems

by | Nov 22, 2015

Seminar Tuesday, 24th November at 3pm Mackesy Room at Pembroke College

 Professor Chris Jenks, SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas Texas

 Moral Panic and Conceptual Paradoxes: Critiquing & Reframing the Call to Ban Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems

Using the evocative term ‘killer robots’, the United Nations and human rights group reports claim that lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) are ‘almost a reality’ that ‘will leave humans utterly defenceless’. Yet talks at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons have yielded more confusion than consensus for a ban on LAWS. This presentation attempts to explain why.

While employing moral panic has been effective marketing, it is impossible to reconcile with the fact that more than 30 militaries have employed defensive, anti-material, weapon systems capable of selecting and engaging targets without further human intervention largely without controversy for three decades. This presentation suggests narrowing the proposed ban from LAWS writ large to those weapon systems whose primary use is to target personnel.

All welcome, refreshments provided.
Supported by the Oxford Martin School Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations

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1 Comment

  1. Jyotiswaroop Pandey

    Moral panics need to be deconstructed, in relation to crime as well as war.

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