College of Intelligence Science and Technology,National University of Defense Technology
Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) can autonomously choose and attack targets without the need of human intervention. LAWS have the characteristics of unmanned platforms, autonomous operation, and lethal attack. With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, fully autonomous lethal weapon systems have attracted great concern around the world and become an important topic of arms control. This paper discusses the issues of arms control for LAWS mainly from the perspective of technology. First, the definitions of autonomous weapon systems are introduced as well as their utilities, followed by the origins of the corresponding arms control problem. Second, based on the rules of distinction, proportionality, precautions required by the International Humanitarian Law, this paper focuses on the technical issues of autonomous target recognition, verification and attack in current autonomous weapon systems. Finally, the positions of arms control of LAWS are analyzed for the United States, Russia, EU and other countries and regions, followed by suggestions for our development of autonomous weapon systems.