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The Paradox of LAWS

By Mervin See, Channel NewsAsia

Published: 20 Mar 2019 - 12:03 PM

Should Development Of Laws Be Legalised?

A few countries such as Iran believes that Lethal Autonomous Warfare Systems (LAWS) should be legalised for citizens as a means of self-defence. However, countries such as Kenya find this absurd as citizens are able to hold weapons of mass destruction such as a Mexican teen who rigged a ShutterBot with explosives. Other countries believes that LAWS should not be legalized. For example, South Sudan feels that robots are unable to differentiate between civilian and enemies. However, the general consensus is that LAWS should be legalised but with strict restrictions. For example, Nigeria believes that it is necessary as LAWS can be used as self-defence against Terrorist who are rapidly developing LAWS. For example, Romania supports LAWS as they can distinguish threats from civilians. LAWS should not be sentient to prevent them from killing humans based of discrimination.

Countries then argued whether LAWS should be semi-autonomous weapons(SAW) which are weapons that act on their own but can be interfered by humans. On one hand, countries such as Ukraine believes that they should not be legalised as only rich countries have enough money to create SAWS, Brunei proposes a complete ban as SAWS are sentient while UK claims that robots do not have ethics. Thus, they can control their actions and can cause human casualties or prejudice even if not intentional. However, the conclusion was that SAWS should be allowed but restricted. Countries such as Spain feel that SAWS are a viable defence mechanism against other countries. India also feels that SAWS can be interfered and controlled by humans so they can still be stopped. Singapore also feels that SAWS can be limited in their military strength.

Thus, LAWS should only be non-autonomous and SAWS but be restricted. They can only be available to government militaries as self-defence of citizens or weapons to attack against other threats without causing human casualties.

Is Autonomous Warfare More Humane?

On one side, Countries such as believe that autonomous warfare is more humane. For example, Lithuania feels that LAWS can allow for smaller countries to compete with major powers with lesser manpower. Countries such as Mexico falsely believed that autonomous warfare would not cost lives but only money.However,many other countries feel that autonomous warfare is inhumane such as North Korea who believes that LAWS do not regard human lives and countries would just call the loss of lives as “collateral damage”.Philippines propose the prohibition of autonomous warfare as it can take away more lives as it can cause conflict between humans and machines.Poland stated a great point that autonomous warfare would only seem more convenient and humane when in reality it would just encourage war and cause arms race between countries.Singapore also stated that there would just be a state encouragement and nationalism of war leading to warfare.In a nutshell, autonomous warfare should be

avoided at all cost as it would just cause warfare between countries and even human lives.

Preventing LAWS From Use By Terrorist And Regulations Of Countries

The first method suggested by America was for all countries to reveal the number of SAWS they have and restrict the number of SAWS available to countries.Democratic Republic Of Congo(DRC)also added revealing arm deals and creation of SAWS to allow for open diplomacy.According to America, it would help prevent arms race between countries and restrict the danger of SAWS against countries.However, America did not consider that it might infringe,exploit the sovereignty of countries and also reveal national interest and military might of a country.Thus the closure supported by many countries including China and India proposed exposing this based on a country’s individual decision so that countries rights would not be infringed but ensuring peace at the same time.

The second method suggested by philippines is to restrict the black market.India suggested protecting any blueprint of LAWS and to enable severe sanctions if countries should give blueprints to terrorist groups and be responsible for their own LAWS.The DRC suggested restricting information and commercial scale given to public and also to put regulations so LAWS do not cause large scale damage.Singapore also suggested cyber security to prevent blueprints from entering the black market.Thus,this would prevent blueprints and LAWS from being readily available to citizens and conflict in society.

The last method suggested by countries like Kenya that a strict outline to prevent damage to society,countries must be responsible for any harm caused to other countries even if there may be malfunctions or anomalys.Countries must pay compensation to them.Countries must also be under strict laws to prevent them from exploiting LAWS as weapons against other countries.

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