! TOP URGENCY ! : AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS without human-in-the-loop are coming. It is argued that emerging technologies are 'enablers' and 'force multipliers' to the state's conventional and nuclear forces.

To date, most of the technologies, both offensive and defensive, are controlled by human beings for simple reasons of avoiding accidents and inadvertent escalation between rivals. The Ukrainian drone company, Sakar, is reported to have claimed the fielding of a fully autonomous weapon.

Such automation is programmed in a way that may decide to kill on the battlefield autonomously without human involvement.

Autonomous weapons capable of finding and selecting targets may potentially raise the moral, legal and ethical questions about its regulations, especially when the autonomous weapons do not recognize between the combatants and the non-combatants in different war fighting scenarios risking accidents and escalation the military rivals may not desire in the first place.

In contemporary times, both the major and smaller powers aspire the acquisition of latest technology to stay relevant and dominant internationally. States value technologies that benefit military advantages vis-a-vis their potential adversaries.

States also develop capabilities to develop effective countermeasures for every technology. This creates an unending arms race in the field of emerging technologies and those who lag behind in acquiring nascent technologies may suffer.

This is because ' technological opportunism ' entails that states should make use of latest technologies for both offensive and defensive purposes.

As automated technologies integrate with military and nuclear deterrent forces, worry among competing states also increases on how and when to regulate the automation of emerging technologies.

Keeping the cost and benefit analysis in consideration, states may not be quick enough as expected in striking a legally binding treaty by prohibiting the use of autonomous weapons.

IN SUMMARY, regulating the automation of emerging technologies through legally and politically binding treaties is needed.

Any regulation for autonomous weapons after the major powers have already acquired them could be less productive. This in turn will result in an arms race, crisis instability, and the risk of conflict between the rivals.

The Publishing of this Master Essay continues. The World Students Society thanks Dr. Zafar Khan, who is a professor of International Relations.


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