Research articles and other publications

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 • 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 and 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.

The German language version of the text can be accessed here, and a longer English language version has also been made available on the Autonorms website.

Publication of written evidence in Foreign Affairs Committee enquiry on Tech and the future of UK foreign policy

Ingvild Bode, Anna Nadibaidze, Hendrik Huelss, and Tom Watts • June 2021 

The Autonorms Team published written evidence in 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 BodeApril 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 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 article 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.