The most complex international governance challenges surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) today involve its defence and security applications — from killer swarms of drones to the computer-assisted enhancement of military command-and-control processes. The contributions to this essay series emerged from discussions at a webinar series exploring the ethics of AI and automated warfare hosted by the University of Waterloo’s AI Institute.

Introduction: The Ethics of Automated Warfare and AI
Bessma Momani, Aaron Shull, Jean-François Bélanger

AI and the Future of Deterrence: Promises and Pitfalls
Alex Wilner

The Third Drone Age: Visions Out to 2040
James Rogers

Civilian Data in Cyberconflict: Legal and Geostrategic Considerations
Eleonore Pauwels

AI and the Actual IHL Accountability Gap
Rebecca Crootof

Autonomous Weapons: The False Promise of Civilian Protection
Branka Marijan

Autonomy in Weapons Systems and the Struggle for Regulation
Frank Sauer

The Problem with Artificial (General) Intelligence in Warfare
Toby Walsh

About the Authors

CIGI Senior Fellow Bessma Momani has a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on international political economy and is full professor and assistant vice‑president, research and international at the University of Waterloo.

Aaron Shull is the managing director and general counsel at CIGI. He is a senior legal executive and is recognized as a leading expert on complex issues at the intersection of public policy, emerging technology, cybersecurity, privacy and data protection.

Jean-François Bélanger is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo working with Bessma Momani on questions of cybersecurity and populism.

Rebecca Crootof is an associate professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law. Her primary areas of research include technology law, international law and torts.

Branka Marijan is a CIGI senior fellow and a senior researcher at Project Ploughshares.

Eleonore Pauwels is an international expert in the security, societal and governance implications generated by the convergence of artificial intelligence with other dual-use technologies, including cybersecurity, genomics and neurotechnologies.

James Rogers is the DIAS Associate Professor in War Studies within the Center for War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, a non-resident senior fellow within the Cornell Tech Policy Lab at Cornell University and an associate fellow at LSE IDEAS within the London School of Economics.

Frank Sauer is the head of research at the Metis Institute for Strategy and Foresight and a senior research fellow at the Bundeswehr University in Munich.

Toby Walsh is an Australian Research Council laureate fellow and scientia professor of artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales.

Alex Wilner is an associate professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, and the director of the Infrastructure Protection and International Security program.