Noel Sharkey

Towards a principle for the human supervisory control of robot weapons

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The aim is to explore the delicate balance between human reasoning and the legal requirements for the appropriate supervisory control of robot weapons. We start by examining the limitations of automatic versus aided target recognition and then review some of the relevant psychological literature on reasoning. A new framework is introduced that reframes autonomy/semi-autonomy in terms of levels of supervisory control. This allows for greater transparency in command and control and the allocation of responsibility. Finally, so-called, human supervised autonomy is assessed in terms of the supervisory control framework.


  • Autonomous Weapons
  • Supervisory Control
  • Robot Weapons
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Reasoning


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