We Robot 2019

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, English and Philosophy, Robotics Research Center


An interdisciplinary team of military and civilian professors of philosophy, electrical engineering, computer science, and robot engineers in the Robotic Research Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point are currently teaching a cutting-edge interdisciplinary project designed for cadets to explore, both in the classroom and in robotic lab environments, artificial intelligence (AI) powered robots, drones, self-driving cars, and emerging human on and out of the loop technologies such as robot swarms. Cadets learn how the increasing sophistication and autonomous decision-making capabilities of AI robots and autonomous weapon systems (AWS) on the battlefield, and in conflict operations, is disrupting existing status quo legal and moral norms and requires rethinking the sacrosanct idea of traditional Just War Theory as the moral compass for justice in declaring and fighting a war. The unpredictable pace of change is revolutionizing the concepts of just war, agency, and human purpose in war.

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How Robots and Autonomous Weapon Systems are Changing the Norms and Laws of War