Through conversation with experts in technology, law and military affairs, this series explores how new military technology and international law interact. Produced by Dr Simon McKenzie at The University of Queensland School of Law.
Precautions in attack and coalition operations in Mosul - Lauren Sanders
In this episode, Dr Simon McKenzie talks with Dr Lauren Sanders about the practical application of one of the most interesting legal obligations of international humanitarian law: the obligation to take precautions in attack. This obligation requires attackers to take “all feasible precautions” to minimise incidental loss and harm to civilian life – but what it means in practice can be hard to understand. When is a precaution feasible? How does this obligation sit alongside the permissive character of military necessity?
Dr Lauren Sanders is a Senior Research Fellow at the UQ School of Law, and she researches the legal constraints on the arms trade in military technology, as well as international criminal law, IHL, and counter-terrorism law. Before returning to UQ, Lauren spent twenty years as an Australian Army signals officer and legal officer, and has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor and on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and has been a legal advisor to ADF domestic counter-terrorism operations.
She is appearing on the show in her personal capacity, and the views she expresses do not reflect the official positions of the Australian Defence Force or Department of Defence.
Laurent Gisel, Ken Hume, Pilar Gimeno Sarciada and Abby Zeith, 'Urban warfare: an age-old problem in need to new solutions', Humanitarian Law & Policy (27 April 2021).The Modern War Institute at West PointMichael Schmitt, 'Targeting Dual-Use Structures: An Alternative Interpretation', Articles of War (28 June 2021)Joshua Andresen, 'The Paradox of Precision and the Weapons Review Regime' (10 March 2019)Airwars
Drone strikes and the safety of civilians - Joshua Andresen
In this episode, Dr Lauren Sanders talks with Dr Joshua Andresen about drones and aerial strikes, exploring whether they make armed conflict safer for civilians. Some claim that by allowing for the more precise use of force, drone strikes cause less harm to nearby civilian populations. Conversely, some point to the impact that making force more accessible in urban areas actually increases the likelihood that force will be used in and around civilians. Lauren and Joshua also consider whether IHL needs to adapt for the use of these technologies.
Dr Joshua Andresen is a Reader in National Security and Foreign Relations Law at the University of Surrey who has written extensively on the problems posed by the use of drone strikes in armed conflict and their regulation. His research focuses on the legal regulation of armed conflict in light of advanced weapons technology and the predominance of non-international armed conflicts.
He has held positions as a senior policy advisor in the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, and has worked at the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as well as Associate Professor of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut.
Joshua Andresen ‘Putting Lethal Force on the Table: How Drones Change the Alternative Space of War and Counterterrorism’ (2017) 8(2) Harvard National Security Journal 426-472. Joshua Andresen, ‘Due Process of War in the Age of Drones’, (2016) 41(1) Yale Journal of International Law 155-188. Joshua Andresen 'The Paradox of Precision and the Weapons Review Regime', The Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence (2020). John E. Jackson (ed) One Nation under Drones: Legality, Morality, and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems (2018: Naval Institute Press.)Jason Lyall, Bombing to Lose? Airpower, Civilian Casualties, and the Dynamics of Violence in Counterinsurgency Wars (2017). Chris Kolenda and Chris Rogers, The Strategic Costs of Civilian Harm: Applying Lessons from Afghanistan to Current and Future Conflicts, (2016: The Open Society Foundation).
Legal standards for AI: law and the reasonable robot - Ryan Abbott
In this episode, Dr Lauren Sanders talks with Professor Ryan Abbott about the legal standards and challenges of integrating artificial intelligence into current legal regimes. They discuss his recent book, The Reasonable Robot, which traverses different areas of law and how they treat AI – whether incentivising or disincentivising technological development in AI – and what his theory of legal neutrality for artificial intelligence in law is and how it could work. They also cover his recent case in the Australian Federal Court dealing with recognition of AI as an inventor in patent applications.
Professor Abbott is a Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Surrey and is highly regarded for his scholarship, teaching, and professional activities. He has published widely on issues associated with law and technology, health law, and intellectual property in leading legal, medical, and scientific books and journals. Professor Abbott has worked as a partner in legal practice, and he has been outside general counsel to life science companies. He has served as a consultant or expert for international organizations, academic institutions and non-profit enterprises including the United Kingdom Parliament, European Commission, World Health Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Professor Abbott is a licensed physician, attorney, and acupuncturist in the United States, as well as a solicitor advocate in England and Wales and has also worked as an expert witness which has included testifying in U.S. federal court.
Ryan Abbott, The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law, (2020: Cambridge University Press) Alexandra Jones, 'Artificial intelligence can now be recognised as an inventor after historic Australian court decision', ABC News Online (1 August 2021) Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin, and Ian Kerr (eds), Robot Law, (2016: Edward Elgar)Jacob Turner, Robot Rules - Regulating Artificial Intelligence, (2019: Palgrave) Simon Chesterman, We, the Robots?: Regulating Artificial Intelligence and the Limits of the Law, (2021: Cambridge University Press).
Space force - Jessie Dumont
In this episode, Dr Eve Massingham talks with Captain Jessie Dumont about the role of automation in space operations and the prospects of autonomous devices in space. They also touch on wargaming in space and some of the legal issues associated with using space for military purposes.
Captain Dumont is a Lecturer in the Department of Physics & Space Science at the Royal Military College of Canada. She recently returned from working at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. She worked as a member of 18 Space Control Squadron as an orbital analyst and maintained the space catalogue of debris and satellites.
This podcast reflects the personal view of Captain Jessie Dumont and does not represent the view of the Government of Canada.
Experimenting on humans and international law - Thibault Moulin
In this episode, Dr Simon McKenzie talks with Dr Thibault Moulin about the international legal regulation of experiments on humans. These experiments test existing frameworks of international law, and they discuss the limits that international humanitarian law and international human rights law places on human enhancement and the experiments that bring them into being.
Dr Thibault Moulin is a Lecturer at the Catholic University of Lyon in France. His research focuses on the regulation of new technologies by international law, in particular cyber-operations and human enhancement. He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Manchester and a French Doctorate from the University of Grenoble-Alpes. He was also a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Thibault Moulin, 'Doctors Playing Gods? The Legal Challenges in Regulating the Experimental Stage of Cybernetic Human Enhancement' (2021) 54(2) Israel Law Review 236.Rain Liivoja and Luke Chircop, 'Are Enhanced Warfighters Weapons, Means or Methods of Warfare?' (2018) 94 International Law Studies 161Rain Liivoja, 'Being More Than You Can Be: Enhancement of Warfighters and the Law of Armed Conflict' in Matthew Waxman and Thomas W. Oakley (eds), The Future Law of Armed Conflict (The Lieber Studies; Oxford University Press, 2021, Forthcoming)Rain Liivoja, 'New Technologies Symposium: Human Enhancement Technologies and the Law in War and Peace', (8 May 2019) Opinio Juris Blog.Heather Harrison Dinniss and Jann Kleffner, 'Soldier 2.0: Military Human Enhancement and International Law' (2016) 92 International Law Studies 432.
The new and old of emerging military technology - Maaike Verbruggen
In this episode, Dr Simon McKenzie talks with Maaike Verbruggen about how history can help us grapple with new military technologies. They talk about developments in AI, human-machine teaming and swarming capabilities and try to work through what can be taken from the histories of arms control and technology to help us understand our current situation.
Maaike Verbruggen is a historian & sociologist, who now works on the politics of future technology. She is currently a doctoral researcher at the Center for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her PhD thesis is on the drivers for and obstacles to military innovation in artificial intelligence, and she has broader interests in arms control, military innovation and emerging technologies. She previously worked at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on autonomous weapons and export controls.
Technical scientific literature (she tells us not to be intimidated!)Donald Mackenzie, Inventing Accuracy: A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance (1990: The MIT Press)David Edgerton, The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 (2007: OUP)Maaike's Twitter thread of recommendations.