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3 Application Domains
Pages 79-114

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From page 79...
... This chapter addresses four application domains: robotics and autonomous systems, prosthetics and human enhancement, cyber weapons, and nonlethal weapons. For each, the relevant section provides a brief overview of the technologies relevant to that domain, identifies a few characteristic military applications within the domain, and addresses some of the most salient ethical, legal, and societal issues for that application domain.
From page 80...
... important military tasks will be performed with higher efficiency and effectiveness than if humans are directly involved. 3.1.1  Robotics -- The Technology of Autonomous Systems Computer systems (without the sensors and actuators)
From page 81...
... Some neuroscience analysts believe that neuroscience will change the approach to computer modeling of decision making by disclosing the cognitive processes produced by millions of years of evolution, processes that artificial intelligence has to date been unable to capture fully. Such processes may become the basis for applications such as automatic target recognition.
From page 82...
... Robots perform a variety of industrial assembly line tasks, such as precision welding. A number of commercial robots also have obvious military applications as well -- robots for security patrolling at home have many of the capabilities that robots for surveillance might need to help guard a military facility, and self-driving automobiles are likely to have many similarities to self-driving military trucks.
From page 83...
... With more information, the remote weapons operator can do a better job of ascertaining the nature and extent of the likely collateral damage should s/he decide to attack as compared with a pilot flying an armed aircraft in the vicinity of the target; with such information, an attack can be executed in a way that does minimal collateral damage. A remote human operator -- operating a ground vehicle on the battlefield from a safe location -- will not be driven by fear for his or her own safety in deciding whether or not to attack any given target, and thus is more likely in this respect to behave in a manner consistent with the law of armed conflict than would a soldier in immediate harm's way.
From page 84...
... A subset of autonomous weapon systems are human-supervised autonomous weapon systems that are designed to select and engage targets without further human input after activation but nevertheless allow human operators to override operation of the weapon system and to terminate engagements before unaccept able levels of damage occur. A semiautonomous weapon system is a weapon system that, once activated, is intended to engage only individual targets or specific target groups that have been selected by a human operator.
From page 85...
... International Law Autonomous systems -- especially lethal autonomous systems -- complicate today's international law of armed conflict (LOAC) and domestic law as well.
From page 86...
... • How might autonomous systems contribute to a lowering of the threshold for engaging in armed conflict? Some analysts argue that the use of remotely operated lethal autonomous systems in particular emboldens political leaders controlling the use of such weapons to engage in armed conflict.6 The argument, in essence, is that nation X will be more likely to wage war against nation Y to the extent that nation X's troops are not in harm's way, as would be the case with weapons system operators doing their work from a sanctuary (e.g., nation X's homeland)
From page 87...
... For example, a 2011 report from the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry, on the psychological health of operators of remotely piloted aircraft and supporting units identified three groups of psychological stressors on these operators: 7 • Operational stressors (those related to sustaining operations) include issues such as restricted working environments (e.g., ground control stations with limited freedom for mobility)
From page 88...
... But the public reaction to the proposal reflected skepticism of the idea that a soldier who operates a drone or engages in cyber operations should be recognized and decorated in the same way as the soldier who risks his or her life in the actual theater of battle. A final example of organizational impact is that autonomous systems 9 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Study on Targeted Killings, Human Rights Council, ¶ 84, UN Doc.
From page 89...
... Moreover, how and to what extent are operators in the vicinity of an autonomous system entitled to know about possible risks? A pilot in an airplane that is partially out of control may be able to steer the airplane away from populated areas -- what of the operator of a remotely piloted
From page 90...
... use of new technologies -- but at the very least the new technologies may provide a post hoc justification for unethical tactics.) In the case of armed remotely piloted vehicles, concerns have been raised that such use enables the insurgent adversary to cast itself in the role of underdog and the West as a cowardly bully that is unwilling to risk its own troops but is happy to kill remotely.12 Furthermore and regardless of their perceptions of the United States, adversaries may also want to 10 Siobhan Gorman, Yochi J
From page 91...
... raises a host of potential issues related to civil liberties. The issue is not so much whether these military systems can be usefully and practically employed to assist domestic law enforcement authorities (they do have potential value for certain applications)
From page 92...
... 3.2.1  The Science and Technology of Prosthetics and Human Enhancement Prostheses are devices that are intended to replace missing human body parts. The discussion below focuses on prostheses that replace body parts that serve physical functions, such as vision or locomotion.
From page 93...
... . If the constraint on integration into the human body is relaxed, devices that replace and even augment human function -- devices that have already been designed and tested although they are not available for widespread use today -- could come into use.
From page 94...
... The remainder of this section addresses a number of ethical, legal, and societal issues related to prosthetics and human enhancement that emerge in the military context.23 International Law The Martens clause contained in the 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions in essence prohibits weapons whose use would violate the laws of humanity and the requirements of the public conscience. Established as a way to ensure that the use of weapons not explicitly covered by the conventions was not necessarily permitted by them, the Martens clause is broadly recognized as having no accepted interpretation.
From page 95...
... Last, what are the psychological effects of human enhancements that are integrated into the human body? How and to what extent, if any, do they change an individual's conception of himself or herself?
From page 96...
... For individuals transitioning from military to civilian life, policy makers must ask whether prosthetic and enhancement technologies acquired in the military will remain with the individual. In some cases (e.g., prosthetic limbs that replace lost human function)
From page 97...
... As a general rule, highly discriminating cyber weapons (that is, weapons that affect only their spec 25John A Bargh, Mark Chen, and Lara Burrows, "Automaticity of Social Behavior: Direct Effects of Trait Construct and Stereotype-Activation on Action," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 71(2)
From page 98...
... Cyber exploitation refers to activities involving the first bulleted item above (breaching confidentiality) , cyber attack to activities involving the second, third, and fourth items above (compromising integ 26This discussion of cyber weapons borrows liberally from National Research Council, Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S.
From page 99...
... Cyber weapons can cause temporary damage or permanent damage. Some examples of temporary damage include denial-of-service attacks; operations that take advantage of bugs in a target system, causing a machine to crash and reboot at critical times (but leaving it otherwise unharmed)
From page 100...
... 3.3.3  Ethical, Legal, and Societal Questions and Implications28 The use of cyber weapons in conflict as a deliberate instrument of national policy raises a variety of ethical, legal, and societal issues. International Law Although the United States has stated its view that the law of armed conflict applies to cyberspace,29 this view has not been explicitly endorsed by all of the signers of the Geneva and Hague Conventions or the UN Charter.
From page 101...
... • The fuzziness of the lines between cyber crime and cyber war, the former being a law enforcement matter and the latter being a matter of national security. Moreover, because the damage from an individual cyber attack can be very small, the precise point at which a set of many cyber attacks becomes a national security issue may be unclear.
From page 102...
... But the nature of cyber weaponry is that military forces, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement agencies can all find value in the use of cyber weapons under certain circumstances, and the separate legal frameworks of Title 10, Title 50, and Title 18 inevitably leave gaps or result in a lack of clarity about which agencies of the U.S. government should take the lead regarding the use of cyber weapons in any given situation.
From page 103...
... 3.4  NONLETHAL WEAPONS The U.S. Department of Defense defines "nonlethal weapons" as "weapons .
From page 104...
... • Acoustic weapons project intense sound waves in the direction of a target from long distances, and individuals within effective range feel pain from the loud sound. • Directed-energy weapons that project millimeter-wave radiation can cause a very painful burning sensation on human skin without actually damaging the skin.32 Such weapons, used to direct energy into a large area, are believed to be useful in causing humans to flee an area to avoid that pain.
From page 105...
... The latter uses are explicitly permitted by NATO doctrine on nonlethal weapons: Non-lethal weapons may be used in conjunction with lethal weapon systems to enhance the latter's effectiveness and efficiency across the full spectrum of military operations.33 So it is clear that in at least some military contexts, military doctrine anticipates that nonlethal weapons can be used along with traditional weapons. But it is also clear that they are not always intended to be used in this way.
From page 106...
... But the Scientific Advisory Board of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded in 2011 that, given the uncontrolled settings in which such agents are actually used, "the term ‘non-lethal' is inappropriate when referring to chemicals intended for use as incapacitants." 35 34 Science and Technology Organization Collaboration and Support Office, Annex B: NATO Policy on Non-Lethal Weapons, available at http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public//PubFullText/ RTO/TR/RTO-TR-SAS-040///TR-SAS-040-ANN-B.pdf. 35 Scientfic Advisory Board, Report of the Scientific Advisory Board on Developments in Science and Technology for the Third Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, October 29, 2012, available at http://www.opcw.org/index.php?
From page 107...
... Permissible purposes include "industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes"; protective purposes (that is, purposes "directly related to protection against toxic chemicals and to protection against chemical weapons"; and law enforcement, including domestic riot control purposes. Signatories also agree not to use riot control agents as a means of warfare, where a riot control agent is an agent that "can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure." Many issues regarding arms control turn on the specific meaning of terms such as "temporary incapacitation," "other harm," and "sensory irritation or disabling physical effects." In addition, they depend on determinations of the intended purpose for a given agent (there is no agreed definition of "law enforcement," for example)
From page 108...
... nonlethal weapons effort, including gastrointestinal convulsives, calmative agents, aqueous foam, malodorous agents, oleoresin capsicum (OC) cayenne pepper spray, smokes and fogs, and riot control agents (orthochlorobenzylidene malononitrile, also known as CS, and chloracetophenone, also known as CN)
From page 109...
... International Law The BWC and the CWC are not the only legal frameworks that affect the potential development and use of nonlethal weapons. The law of armed conflict (specifically, Article 51 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions)
From page 110...
... However, over time, ethical concerns suggesting that blinding as a method of warfare was in fact particularly inhumane were one factor that led the United States to see value in explicitly supporting such a ban, first as a matter of policy and then as a matter of international law and treaty, even if blinding lasers themselves could arguably have been covered under the prohibition of weapons that caused unnecessary suffering. Another distinct body of law, discussed further in Chapter 4, is international human rights law, which addresses the relationship between a state and its citizens rather than relationships between states in conflict addressed by the law of armed conflict.
From page 111...
... Potential violations of international human rights law have been cited as part of the arguments against the use of incapacitating chemical agents,44 as well as against other forms of nonlethal weapons. Safety The extent to which a given weapon is nonlethal (or more precisely, less lethal)
From page 112...
... that used low-power laser beams to blind the human eye at distances of up to one mile.1 Pentagon officials noted that the beam "would sweep around the battlefield and blind anyone who looked directly into it." In September 1988, the DOD Judge Advocate General issued a memoran dum of law concerning the legality of the use of lasers as antipersonnel weapons.2 This memorandum identified the key law-of-armed-conflict issue as whether the use of a laser to blind an enemy soldier would cause unnecessary suffering and therefore be unlawful. The memorandum noted that blinding a soldier "ancillary to the lawful use of a laser rangefinder or target acquisition lasers against material targets" would be legal.
From page 113...
... Unanticipated Uses Nonlethal weapons -- at least some of them -- raise issues that are not generally anticipated in the doctrines of their use. For example, although nonlethal weapons are often presented as a substitute for lethal weapons, they may in practice be a substitute for nonviolent negotiations -- that is, they may be used to bypass the time-consuming process of negotiations.
From page 114...
... It is of course true that virtually any instrument can be used as an instrument of torture, which is prohibited under international law. In this context, a possible ELSI concern arises because certain nonlethal weapons technologies might be better suited for torture (if, for example, the use of a particular technology left no physical evidence of the torture)


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