The Automated Decision Research team facilitated a workshop at RightsCon 2023 on 07 June 2023 titled ‘Two sides of the coin? AI and automated decisions in the civil and military spheres.’ The workshop discussed the challenges of regulating AI and lessons from the civil space which can be applied to thinking about regulation of autonomy in weapons, as presented in our report ‘Artificial intelligence and automated decisions: shared challenges in the civil and military spheres.’
The session, led by researcher Sai Bourothu, elaborated on digital dehumanisation, which is the process whereby humans are reduced to data, which is then used to make decisions and/or take actions that negatively affect their lives. A range of other cases of automated harm and its impacts on human rights were covered and parallels were drawn to how these automated harms may be further aggravated in military applications. Participants also offered examples of different forms of digital dehumanisation from around the world.
An argument was made for a new international legally binding instrument on autonomous weapon systems, which was chosen by participants as the preferred strategy to mitigate risks posed by these emerging technologies in the survey conducted during the session. While expressing concerns around the accountability of autonomous weapons, participants also raised concerns regarding the moral questions posed by such systems. Further, there was unanimous agreement that giving machines the power to make life or death decisions undermines human dignity and denies people of their rights.
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