“improve accountability and oversight, capture the benefits and reduce harm.”

“what meaningful international and domestic governance of autonomous weapons might look like?”

Proud New Zealand track record

“New Zealand has a long-standing reputation for taking a principled line on the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Need to start thinking about the governance of autonomous weapons

In a recent Brookings article, “It’s time to start thinking about governance of autonomous weapons”, Darrell M. West and Jack Karsten outline the way that emerging digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), will transform the way nations engage in war – eliminating dangerous tasks, creating more targeted and effective defence systems and improving operational efficiencies.

“emerging digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), will transform the way nations engage in war…”

They argue that the US is in a race to keep pace with growing state investment by other major powers such as China and Russia. China is expected to invest more than $30 billion to meet its goal of global leadership in AI by 2030. Russia is making similarly large investments with reportedly nearly $719 million put into AI research and development by 2021.

They offer up a good starting point for an important discussion. A principled approach will be required and attempting to turn back the tide is pointless.  New Zealand has a record it can be proud of on global governance agreements on the production and proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons.


Jordan Small is Executive Director.  You can find his profile here.

Leave a Reply