The ways of war: New technologies and killer robots

Date & time
12.30–1.30pm Friday 20 May 2016

R.G. Casey Building, John McEwen Crescent, Barton 

Michael Bliss, International Legal Branch, DFAT
Anne Giles, Arms Control and Counter Proliferation Branch, DFAT
A/Prof Rob McLaughlin, ANU College of Law


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


How are new technologies going to affect the way in which wars are waged? Are ‘killer robots’ the next frontier in warfare? In this Monthly Talk, the panellists will consider international developments related to lethal autonomous weapons systems and the relationship with use of force and international humanitarian law.

Some commentators argue that automated and autonomous weapons will increase compliance with international humanitarian law and reduce ‘human error’ while others are concerned with how weapons without meaningful human control can ever adhere to international law. The panel will discuss the Informal Meeting of Experts held in Geneva (April 2016), which canvassed a number of legal and moral questions related to lethal autonomous weapons systems and options for regulation of their use and development. 

Michael Bliss is the Legal Adviser (International) and Assistant Secretary of the International Legal Branch at DFAT, and is concurrently a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy. 

Anne Giles is Director of Conventional Weapons Section in Arms Control and Counter Proliferation Branch at DFAT. Since 2013, she has covered Australia’s engagement on the Arms Trade Treaty, Mine Ban Convention and Convention on Cluster Munitions. 

Rob McLaughlin is a Captain in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve. His experience includes maritime law enforcement operations, deployments to East Timor and Iraq, and legal roles including Fleet Legal Officer, Director Naval Legal Service, and Director Operations and International Law.

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