New Podcast Series Hosted by Professor Gaeta Discusses the Challenges Raised by Lethal Autonomous Weapons

In the new podcast series ‘Lethal Autonomous Weapons: 10 Things We Want to Know’ launched in July, Professor Paola Gaeta and her research team discuss with other experts the challenges and problems raised by lethal autonomous weapons (‘LAWS‘).

The series will run until December 2021 with one episode published every other Wednesday.

The podcast is available on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Simplecast.

From the Compatibility of LAWS with IHL to Responsibility in Case of Failure

The 10 episodes are of interest to students, practitioners, researchers and all those who want to enhance their knowledge of thorny issues related to the development and use of LAWS.

For instance, the podcast discusses issues such as the concept of autonomy in weapon systems, the compatibility of LAWS with international humanitarian law (IHL), of the question of the attribution of responsibility in case of failures of autonomous weapons, whether LAWS are ethical, and the respect for human rights when LAWS are used in law enforcement operations.

‘This podcast series has an interview format, and we get to talk to amazing people on burning questions related to algorithmic warfare and the development of lethal autonomous weapons. It will enrich the knowledge and curiosity of all those who want to enhance their understanding of the scope, implications and risks of increasing autonomy in weapons systems’ explains Professor Gaeta.

A soldier watches as a Tarantula Hawk (T-Hawk) Micro Remote Piloted Air System (RPAS) hovers over the desert in Afghanistan.

Part of a Larger Research on LAWs

This podcast series is part of larger research led by Professor Gaeta on the LAWS and War Crimes based at the International Law Department of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The project focuses on the criminal responsibility of the user of autonomous weapons and of the human-operator in mixed systems, as it is in this area that the risk of a responsibility gap is greatest.

Involvement of Geneva Academy Experts

Besides Professor Gaeta, the podcast series involves our former Teaching Assistant Dr Alessandra Spadaro, a Research Associate in Professor Gaeta's research team.

In episode 3, which has just been released, Professor Marco Sassòli also discusses whether lethal autonomous weapons, also called killer robots, can comply with international humanitarian law.

The podcast covers issues addressed in Professor Gaeta's course on international criminal law for our LLM students, in particular the question of criminal responsibility for war crimes committed on the battlefield.

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