Research articles and other publications
Publication in La Vanguardia
Anna Nadibaidze • 9 June 2022
Anna Nadibaidze contributed to Dossier, a trimestral publication by the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia. Her text “Weaponized Artificial Intelligence in the Nuclear Domain” (translated into Spanish) appeared in Dossier #84, entitled “Nuclear Rearmament”.
Article published in Contemporary Security Policy
Anna Nadibaidze • 19 May 2022
This article proposes an identity-based analysis of the Russian position in the global debate on autonomous weapons systems (AWS). Based on an interpretation of Russian written and verbal statements submitted to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) meetings from 2014 to 2022, I find that two key integral elements of Russian great power identity—the promotion of multipolarity and the recognition of Russia’s equal participation in global affairs—guide its evolving position on the potential regulation of AWS. The analysis makes an empirical contribution by examining one of the most active participants in the CCW discussion, an opponent to any new regulations of so-called “killer robots,” and a developer of autonomy in weapons systems. It highlights the value of a more thorough understanding of the ideas guiding the Russian position, assisting actors who seek a ban on AWS in crafting their responses and strategies in the debate.
The article is available open-access here.
Online publication in Le Rubicon
Anna Nadibaidze • 3 May 2022
In an online piece (in French) published by Le Rubicon, Anna Nadibaidze explores the different pathways available for the regulation of autonomous weapons. She notes the importance of moving forward in the LAWS discussion, whether at the UN or as part of an independent process.
Ingvild Bode & Hendrik Huelss • January 2022
Autonomous Weapons Systems and International Norms, by Ingvild Bode and Hendrik Huelss, is now available to order from McGill-Queen’s University Press.
In Autonomous Weapons Systems and International Norms Ingvild Bode and Hendrik Huelss present an innovative study of how testing, developing, and using weapons systems with autonomous features shapes ethical and legal norms, and how standards manifest and change in practice. Autonomous weapons systems are not a matter for the distant future – some autonomous features, such as in air defence systems, have been in use for decades. They have already incrementally changed use-of-force norms by setting emerging standards for what counts as meaningful human control. As UN discussions drag on with minimal progress, the trend towards autonomizing weapons systems continues.
A thought-provoking and urgent book, Autonomous Weapons Systems and International Norms provides an in-depth analysis of the normative repercussions of weaponizing artificial intelligence.
Report on Russian perceptions of military AI, automation, and autonomy
Anna Nadibaidze • 27 January 2022
In a report published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Anna Nadibaidze aims to provide an overview of the different conceptions and motivations that have been and are guiding Russian political and military leaderships in their ambitions to pursue weaponized AI.
Read the report here.
Publication of essay by the GCSP
Anna Nadibaidze • 18 January 2022
Anna Nadibaidze’s essay “Commitment to Control Weaponised Artificial Intelligence: A Step Forward for the OSCE and European Security” was published by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (CGSP). The essay received first prize ex-aequo in the 2021 OSCE-IFSH Essay Competition on Conventional Arms Control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in Europe.
Publication of analysis in E-International Relations
Tom Watts • 15 December 2021
Tom Watts co-authored the article “Remote Warfare: A Debate Worth the Buzz?” with Rubrick Biegon and Vladimir Rauta. The piece, published by E-International Relations, explores the different meanings of remote warfare and implications of this analytical concept for future scholarship.
Read it here.
Publication of special issue on remote warfare
Tom Watts • November 2021
Tom Watts co-edited the “Remote Warfare and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century” issue of Defence Studies (Volume 21, Issue 4) along with Rubrick Biegon and Vladimir Rauta. He also co-authored two articles within the special issue:
- (2021) Remote warfare – Buzzword or Buzzkill?, Defence Studies, 21:4, 427-446,
- (2021) Revisiting the remoteness of remote warfare: US military intervention in Libya during Obama’s presidency, Defence Studies, 21:4, 508-527,
Written contribution to the UN CCW Group of Governmental Experts on LAWS
AutoNorms • September 2021
The AutoNorms team submitted a written contribution to the Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Emerging Technologies in the Area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), in preparation for the GGE’s second session which took place 24 September – 1 October 2021. The contribution addressed one of the Chair’s guiding questions, “How would the analysis of existing weapons systems help elaborate on the range of factors that should be considered in determining the quality and extent of human-machine interaction/human control/human judgment?”
Read the contribution here.
Publication of op-ed in TheArticle
Anna Nadibaidze • 15 September 2021
In an opinion piece for TheArticle, Anna Nadibaidze argues that while the debate on the potential regulation of lethal autonomous weapons systems at the UN is stalling, interested states parties will continue to pursue the development of weaponised artificial intelligence, further contributing to the multi-dimensional challenges brought by these technologies.
Read the piece here.
Publication of analysis in the German-language ct Magazin für Computertechnik
Ingvild Bode & Tom Watts • September 2021
In a piece published with the German language Magazin für Computertechnik, Ingvild Bode and Tom Watts examine the role and technical capabilities of some of the drone technologies used by the United States as part of the war in Afghanistan.
Publication of written evidence in Foreign Affairs Committee enquiry on “Tech and the future of UK foreign policy”
Ingvild Bode, Anna Nadibaidze, Hendrik Huelss & Tom Watts • June 2021
The AutoNorms team published written evidence in the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s enquiry on “Tech and the future of UK foreign policy”. This written evidence made a series of recommendations for how the UK Government should act to shape and directly influence AI governance norms. These included calling for the UK government to clarify its stance on the role and quality of human control it considers appropriate in the use of force and acknowledging that setting a positive obligation for maintaining human control in specific use of force situations is a crucial step in regulating weaponised AI.
Read the written evidence here.
Publication of an analytical essay in Global Cooperation Research – A Quarterly Magazine
Ingvild Bode • April 2021
Ingvild Bode examines practice theories as an evolving theoretical programme in the discipline of International Relations. She argues that practice theories have much to gain from remaining diverse in their groundings and actively expanding that diversity beyond what the current “canon”. She consider engagements with critical security studies, critical norm research and science and technology studies as particularly useful – and especially those that allow a deeper theorization of how both verbal and non-verbal practices produce and shape norms.
Read the article here.
Publication of analysis in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Ingvild Bode & Tom Watts • 21 April 2021
The analysis piece by Ingvild Bode and Tom Watts summarises their research on air defence systems in the context of the debate on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). They argue that looking at such historic and currently employed systems illustrates pertinent risks associated with their use.
Read the article here.
Publication of a policy report
Ingvild Bode & Tom Watts • February 2021
The policy report “Meaning-less Human Control”, written by Ingvild Bode and Tom Watts and published in collaboration with Drone Wars UK argues that decades of using air defence systems with automated and autonomous features have incrementally diminished meaningful human control over specific use of force situations. The report argues that this process shapes an emerging norm, a standard of appropriateness, among states. This norm attributes humans a diminished role in specific use of force decisions. But the international debate on LAWS is yet to acknowledge or scrutinize this norm. If this continues, the potential international efforts to regulate LAWS through codifying meaningful human control will be undermined.
Read the report here.
Publication of an analytical essay in The Conversation
Ingvild Bode • 15 October 2020
Written after the September 2020 discussions of the GGE on LAWS, Ingvild Bode examines the extent to which states parties agree on retaining meaningful human control over the use of force. She argues that many states champion a distributed perspective on human control that considers how human control is present across the entire life-cycle of the weapons. Acknowledging that this reflects operational reality, Ingvild Bode present drawbacks of this perspective: it runs the risk of making human control more nebulous and distracting from how human control is exerted in the specific use of force situations which is crucial for compliance with international law.
Read the article here.
Publication of a project description in The Project Repository Journal
Ingvild Bode • July 2020
This piece maps out the research agenda for the ERC-funded AutoNorms project. It offers a short overview of research background, objectives, and the envisaged contribution that the AutoNorms project intends to make over the next five years (pp. 140-143).
Read the article here.