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When AI goes to War: public opinion, modern conflict, and autonomous weapons

27th April 2017 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Weaponisation of artificial intelligence presents one of the greatest ethical and technological challenges in the 21st century and has been described as the third revolution in warfare, after the invention of gunpowder and nuclear weapons. Despite the vital importance of this development for modern society, legal and ethical practices, and for technological research, there is little systematic study of public opinion on this critical issue. Our interdisciplinary project, sponsored by CHERISH Digital Economy, addresses this gap. Our objective is to analyse what factors determine public attitudes towards the use of fully autonomous weapons.
To do this, we will produce a series of plausible but fictitious scenarios that will be presented to young adults (18-25 years old) part of a focus group. The scenarios will contain dilemmas to stimulate discussions. The aim of these focus groups is not simply to find out what young people think and feel about fully autonomous weapons, but to discover what shapes their thinking; how they came to define certain scenarios as problematic; how they attempt to work together to think through solutions to these problems; the extent to which they are prepared to change their minds in response to discussion with peer or exposure to new information; and how they translate their ideas into practical policy recommendations. Our working hypothesis is that society is not equipped by either biological evolution or contemporary human culture to make informed evaluations about the ethical implications of using autonomous agency to fight our wars for us.
This workshop is designed to bring researchers interested in ethics, virtual/augmented reality, modern warfare, public opinion, artificial intelligence and robotics. The speakers will be asked to share their research in a 20 minute presentation, with the goal of contributing to an edited volume based on the workshop, in which Routledge Publishing and Rowman Books have expressed an interest, and with the aim of developing a proposal for a major funding bid for the next state of this project.
Bursaries are available to support the travel costs incurred in attending this workshop. Please direct your inquiries to Elvira Perez Elvira.Perez@nottingham.ac.uk.
Workshop organised by:
Eugene Miakinkov, Lecturer in War and Society, Swansea University
Elvira Perez, Senior Research Fellow, University of Nottingham
Rob Wortham, PhD Researcher, University of Bath
Workshop Sponsored by:



27th April 2017
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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University of Nottingham Trent Building
University of Nottingham, Trent Building, Council Room A21
Nottingham, NG7 2RJ United Kingdom
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