​​Addressing Ethical and Technical Challenges in the Development, Use and Governance of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

This full-day workshop at ICRA will take place on Friday, May 27th, 2022 in Philadelphia, PA. We will present an interdisciplinary lineup of scholars and interactive sessions to help robotics researchers develop a disciplinary response to the challenges surrounding legal and ethical governance in design and use of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)

Day-Of Details

Goals and Outcomes: 

  • Facilitate interdisciplinary communication and connections between roboticists and researchers in different fields on the subject of LAWS, to better understand differing perspectives and opinions as well as opportunities for progress.
  • Advance our understanding of technical and ethical issues related to LAWS, and document these insights as workshop proceedings in a suitable archival venue.
  • Create the foundation for lasting working groups to propose well-articulated positions on the regulation of autonomy in robotic weapons systems, with the long term goal of proposing to the RAS Research and Practice Ethics Committee a path toward what robotics as a discipline can contribute to the governance of AWS.

Registration Details: Registration for this workshop is through the ICRA website (see: information and fees, registration form). For anyone who is not able to attend in person, please note that a virtual registration option is available (virtual registration and attendance are free).

7:45am – 8:00am Coffee, 

8:00am – 8:15am Opening Remarks

Session 1: Complexity of the Ethical Issues for LAWS (8:15 am – 10:15 am)

  • “Autonomous Armed Robots and the Principle of Distinction: Does Robotic Killing Violate the Laws of War?” – Claire Finkelstein
  • “International Legal and Diplomatic Challenges Posed by Autonomous Weapons and AI-Assisted Systems” – Denise Garcia
  • Defining the technical challenges of autonomous weapons systems to address ethical and policy challenges” – Ariel Conn
  • Followed by Q&A and breakout discussions

Session 2: Defining and Refining Challenges for Robotics (10:30am – 12:30 pm)

  • “The Neuroethics of LAWS from Neural Networks to Robotics and Back Again” – Jonathan Moreno
  • “Permissible Uncertainty and Meaningful Human Control” Lisa Miracchi Titus
  • Why Is No One Banning Killer Robots?” – Ryan Gariepy
  • Followed by Q&A and breakout discussions

Lunch and Poster Session

Session 3: Shaping a Disciplinary Response in Robotics (1:45pm – 3:45pm)

  • “Roboticist Social Responsibility” – Ruzena Bajcsy
  • “Weaponized Robots: Understanding the Spectrum of Risk and Fear” – Brendan Schulman 
  • “Autonomous Rules of Engagement Escalation in Human-Robot Teams” – COL Christopher Korpela
  • Followed by Q&A and breakout discussions

Moderator: Daniel E. Koditschek

The full schedule is available: here


Lisa J. Miracchi Titus
Organizer and Chair
Associate Professor of Philosophy, GRASP Affiliate Faculty University of Pennsylvania
Michael C. Horowitz
Richard Perry Professor of Political Science, Director, Perry World House
University of Pennsylvania
Daniel E. Koditschek 
Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering
University of Pennsylvania

Questions? Contact Us: icralaws@seas.upenn.edu