Conference Agenda

October 22, 2015

Time Event
7:00 - 9:00 pm Opening Reception and Dinner (Devon Seafood)


October 23, 2015

Workshop (Temple University School of Law, Barrack Hall)

Time Event
8:00 - 9:00 am

Breakfast (Room 207)

9:00 - 9:15 am

Welcome & Introductions (Room 205)

9:15 - 10:30 am

Session 1:  Defining the terrain - What do we mean by "autonomy" in the IHL context? What capacities warrant IHL's attention?

This session will discuss question of how (and how precisely) we should define "autonomous systems."  Topics may include discussion of the technical capacities these systems have; the relationship(s) to human actors; as well as the nature and scope of IHL's coverage of autonomy.  In particular, we will discuss whether there is utility (or danger) in combining analyses of autonomy for cyber operations, remotely piloted aircraft, and autonomous weapon systems.

10:30 - 10:45 am

Coffee Break

10:45 - noon

Session 2: Unpacking the Ethical Dilemmas - Whether, when and how should we deploy autonomous weapon systems?

This session will examine the issue of autonomy and technologies from ethical perspectives.  Topics we may discuss include the ethical methodology (and rigor) of existing arguments; the uniqueness of the ethical issues autonomy raises; moral agency; the cost-benefit trade-offs autonomous systems present; rule-of law values; and the relationship between ethics and IHL.

Noon - 1 pm

Lunch  (Barrack Hall, Room 205)

1:00 - 1:45 pm

Session 3:  Will IHL rule the technology?

This session will discuss the lex lata, what IHL currently has to say about autonomous technologies, including the requirements of a weapons review and the need for meaningful human control.

1:45 - 2:45 pm

Session 4:  Or, will the technology rule IHL?

This session will discuss the lex ferenda, including the ways in which autonomous technology may impact IHL whether (i) by shifting existing IHL categories (such as non-international armed conflicts or coverage of financial systems); (ii) by adapting its functions to preserve the balance between military necessity and humanitarian values; or even (iii) in automating the role of legal reasoning itself.  

2:30 - 2:45 pm

Coffee Break

2:45 - 3:45 pm

Session 5:  Accountability and Effectiveness

This session will examine questions of accountability and effectiveness.  We will discuss where to allocate legal responsibility when autonomous systems do not comply with IHL.  We will also consider, even if States agree on whether, when and how IHL applies, how effective IHL can be in regulating autonomous technology.

3:45 - 4:00 pm

Wrap Up and Next Steps:   Where do we go from here?