UK Approach to UAVs

UK-MoD-JDN-2-11-UK-UAV-CoverThis blog post has been created to act as a note with links to help inform the public about UAVs and encourage involvement in debate on their ethical and legal control.

A UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) publication raises issues relevant to the UK approach to UAVs, unmanned vehicle autonomy, legal, ethical and related issues. It provides a useful contribution to the public debate on these issues.

THE UK APPROACH TO UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
Joint Doctrine Note (JDN 2/11), dated 30 March 2011

One section describes the value of science fiction writings and films in being one of the main forums in which such issues have been raised and in which the public can engage.

The Joint Doctrine Publication 2/11 document was withdrawn on 12th September 2017 and replaced with Joint Doctrine Publication 0.30.2…

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
Joint Doctrine Publication (JDP 0-30.2), Published 12 September 2017

A House of Commons Library briefing note on UAVs citing the UK MoD JDN 2/11 was published as

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones): an introduction
Standard Note: SN06493
Last updated: 25 April 2013
Author: Louisa Brooke-Holland
Section: International Affairs and Defence

Updated to

Overview of military drones used by the UK armed force
Standard Note: SN06493
Last updated: 8 October 2015
Author: Louisa Brooke-Holland
Section: International Affairs and Defence

http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06493.pdf [Local Copy]

A Parliament Office of Science & Technology Note (POSTnote 511) on “Automation in Military Operations” was published on 22 October 2015…

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-0511 [Local Copy]

Over the years, I have frequently been asked my views on the possible dangers of autonomous robots or drones for articles by the press and by school children doing their projects, I have responded to some of these question in my FAQ Web Page. The issue was also discussed by a panel following a screening of the film “The Terminator” at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2011. See [Blog Post] [Podcast]

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5 Responses to UK Approach to UAVs

  1. bat says:

    A Public Radio International (PRI) “Science Friday” panel on “The Future of Artificial Intelligence” dated April 10th, 2015 with Eric Horvitz (Microsoft), Stuart Russell (Berkley) and Max Tegmark (MIT). This covered aspects of the risks of developing AI and the responsibility of AI scientists and developers.

    http://trove.com/a/Listen-to-Eric-Horvitz-discuss-big-AI-questions-on-Science-Friday.LIvrr?chid=4629

    http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/04/10/2015/the-future-of-artificial-intelligence.html

  2. bat says:

    One section of the UK Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems document states..

    From this position, it would be only a small technical step to enable an unmanned aircraft to fire a weapon based solely on its own sensors, or shared information, and without recourse to higher, human authority. Provided it could be shown that the controlling system appropriately assessed the LOAC principles (military necessity; humanity; distinction and proportionality) and that ROE were satisfied, this would be entirely legal.

    “Humanity” is in there… it would be interesting to see the rules that defined “humanity” wouldn’t it! But my point is a simple one… we can write rules:

    if <sensors> then <action>

    and over time make that

    if <sensors> & <analysis> then <action>

    if <sensors> & <AI-analysis> then <action>

    But whatever is included there must be responsibility and authorisation to an action to be taken and not an appeal to a legal framework that “the rules were followed”.

  3. bat says:

    The Joint Doctrine Publication 2/11 document was withdrawn on 12th September 2017 and replaced with Joint Doctrine Publication 0.30.2

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/unmanned-aircraft-systems-jdp-0-302 [Local Copy]

  4. bat says:

    David Hambling, Letting robots kill without human supervision could save lives, New Scientists Online, 8 November 2017.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631512-900-letting-robots-kill-without-human-supervision-could-save-lives/

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