With co-sponsorship from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Temple University Beasley School of Law and its Institute for International Law and Public Policy are hosting a workshop on October 23, 2015 to discuss how automation is impacting and will be impacted by, international humanitarian law (IHL). Militaries have developed a host of new technologies in recent years, including cyber operations, remotely piloted aircraft, automated defensive weapons, and the potential for fully autonomous lethal weapons. All of these technologies share common characteristics, most importantly their ability (and sometimes their need) to operate in the absence of direct human control.

This invitation only, one-day workshop will focus on the role of IHL, Ethics and Technical Considerations in the move towards greater autonomy in weapons systems. To date, discussions of these areas have tended to be segregated.  The workshop seeks to bridge this earlier divide by including experts on all of these new technologies to engender a cross-cutting dialogue that may advance the conversation from a more systemic perspective, to one that is more interdisciplinary and holistic. To help achieve this, Participants will engage the automation issues from various perspectives, including (i) the lex lata; (ii) the lex ferenda; (iii) the ethical issues; and (iv) lessons from other, non-legal disciplines.

Select discussion papers produced for the workshop will be published in a forthcoming volume of the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal devoted to this topic.