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War Algorithms: Who Will Decide in Future Conflicts?
A Reality Check with Prof. Ashley S. Deeks
What many know is that big data and artificial intelligence (AI) already find application in many aspects of our everyday lives - from Google searches to Amazon recommendations to Siri’s responses. What fewer people imagine is how AI, and machine learning especially, are being used as predictive tools in criminal justice and law enforcement settings, to advise judges on sentencing and organize police patrolling. What everybody can only wonder is how algorithms may come to affect decision-making in war, particularly on matters such as detention, patrolling, and targeting in armed conflict, as well as on the resort to force in international relations.
If this scenario is likely to turn into reality soon, there are two questions we must answer urgently:
Can we develop algorithmic tools capable of being applied consistently with States’ international obligations?
And if so, can we ensure that those tools enhance - but do not substantively replace - critical human decision-making about people’s lives, bodily integrity, and freedom?
Ashley S. Deeks is Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. She is a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law and serves as a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog. Prof Deeks also serves on the boards of editors of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of National Security Law and Policy. She is the supervising editor for AJIL Unbound, and is a senior fellow at the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare. She was the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S. State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser.
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MODERATION Tobias Vestner, Security and Law Programme, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Light refreshment will be served. This panel will be filmed. Questions from the audience will not be recorded.
SECURITY AND LAW: A REALITY CHECK
This public discussion is part of Security and Law: A Reality Check, the event series to address how international law matters in security affairs. The Reality Checks aim to critically assess if current norms fit contemporary and future security challenges, how international commitments can effectively be implemented, and how new international law can successfully be shaped. Join the debate. Join the Reality Check.