Ethical aspects concerning the use of robots in warfare

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Rasmus Ambjørn Christiansen
4. semester, Informationsvidenskab (, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This master-thesis is the product of several months of work, aimed at understanding and create new insight about the ethics in the debate on robots used in warfare, through the lens of technological progression - with a special focus on the use of drones. More specifically, the object of this thesis is to examine the possible future scenarios of using robots in war, by investigating the categorized elements of the current debate through the lens of technological advancement and science fiction. The thesis applies a methodology based on a mixed methods approach, including literature review and conceptual analysis. As a supplement to this approach, science fiction is used as a tool for presenting possible futures. With this approach, the thesis determines the different aspects of the problem statement, by unfolding four certain developed topics. These topics function as a form of research design thus framing the thesis chapters.
One chapter determines in what ways war, killing, robots, the use of these and other relevant concepts is defined in relation to the subject of using robots in war. The main points to this subject were that there are concerns for the number of civilian casualties involved with the use of armed drones in war, and that current conventions might not be sufficient to regulate the use of armed drones. Furthermore, another topic discussed in one of the chapters in the thesis is in what manner are drones currently used in war, and what ethical questions arise from said use? The underlying problem here seemed to be a lack of specific conventions for the use of drones in war, and the precedents set by the current use. No overall ethical system had been established in relation to the use of drones in warfare. It was deemed beneficial to review the use of drones on an individual basis, such as through Ontology. In a third chapter, the technological progress in robotics affecting drones, and its potential consequences is analyzed. The major theme was an apparent lack of international conventions in the field with which to compare the ethicality of potential future uses.
The thesis concludes that the found indications of change alluded to by the possible future scenarios, provided the basis for some recommendations. The first is a disassociation from the current way of evaluating ethicality in praxis. The second suggestion was to make all weaponized drones armed with both lethal and nonlethal weapons, as to easier conform to a system of situational ethics.
Udgivelsesdato19 okt. 2015
Antal sider51
ID: 220647307