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AI in and around the Battlefield

King's Building, Strand Campus, London

27FebAI War Crimes 780

The lecture will review the contours of the debate surrounding the introduction of AI technology in military contexts and its relationship to the right to life under international human rights law (IHRL). It will present some actual and potential applications of AI in military contexts and discuss three principal objections against introducing AI to battlefield environments: the capacity of AI to properly apply international humanitarian law (IHL), concerns about de facto lowering of standards of humanitarian protection and other ethical and legal implications of transferring life and death decision from humans to machines. It would consider, in this connection, the specific proposals by the ICRC to limit the use of AI in military contexts (limiting the scope and manner of use of autonomous weapon systems, and excluding unpredictable and lethal automated systems). Finally, the lecture will link the discussion to the right to life under IHRL, as elaborated in the Human Rights Committee's General Comment No. 36.

Speaker: Professor Yuval Shany

Professor Shany is the Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in International Law and former Dean of the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee from 2013 to 2020 (he served between 2018-2019 as Chair of the Committee). He is also a senior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and head of the CyberLaw program of the Hebrew University’s Federmann Cyber Security Research Center. He currently serves as co-director of the Center for Transnational Legal Studies at King’s College in London and a visiting research fellow at the Ethics and AI Institute at Oxford University. Shany’s research focuses on international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international courts and tribunals and the application of international law to cyber and digital interfaces.

Chair: Dr Maria Varaki

Dr Varaki is a Lecturer in International Law at the War Studies Department, King's College London, and co-director of the War Crimes Research Group. Before moving to London, she has held posts at the Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights in Helsinki, Kadir Has University in Istanbul, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the iCourts Centre at the University of Copenhagen. Additionally, she has worked for the OHCHR in Geneva, the UNHCR in New York and the Legal Advisory section of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Since November 2017, she is a member of the ILA Committee on Human Rights in times of emergency.

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Lecturer in International Law

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