Armed drones: automation, autonomy, and ethical decision-making

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


From science to philosophy there are ongoing disputes over what ‘fully autonomous’ means in terms of weaponised drones, and other robotics technologies, and the degree to which they offer threats or benefits to the human race. There is also widespread acknowledgement that the continued advancement of drone technology prompts new and evolving ethical considerations. This chapter assumes that ethical decision-making has both code-oriented aspects and individualised subjective elements. It argues that while elements of code-oriented morality can be programmed into evolving technologies such as lethal strike drones, there remains an essential human dimension of ethical responsibility. This responsibility is not removed by technological advancement but is relocated to a constellation of ethically-implicated actors such as engineers, programmers, AI specialists, military users, policy makers and others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Political Economy of Robots
EditorsRyan Kiggins
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3319514666
ISBN (Print)978-3319514659
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2017


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