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Law Research Seminar Series - Meaningful Inhuman Control: Legal thinking and automated decision-making beyond the regulatory paradigm

Venue: Online

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Meaningful Inhuman Control: Legal thinking and automated decision-making beyond the regulatory paradigm

Speaker: Connal Parsley, University of Kent

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The notion of Meaningful Human Control (MHC) is increasingly offered as a viable legal mechanism for the regulation of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS). Despite sophisticated knowledge of the inseparability of humans and machines in the LAWS context, MHC presupposes a non-technological, non-automated human, inherently capable of conscious and reflective judgment even in highly automated settings. The presence of this human ‘in the loop’ of a decision to engage a target is set to become the limit principle defining the legality of autonomous weapons at international law. Manufacturing an image of the human as non-technological, and human judgment as non-automated, has long been central to legal authority and self-understanding. But what does it mean that this presuppositional figure is becoming the criterion of legality for autonomous systems—just as smart technologies and human-machine hybridity render it practically meaningless? Legal regulatory paradigms of normativity, it is suggested, face an existential threat in the LAWS context. They risk becoming themselves ‘automated’; deprived of a juridical relation to the world they claim to govern. In this context, law and humanities must address itself to the ‘inhuman’ element that participates intimately in contemporary governance. As decision processes become more technologized, this talk will explore the role of jurisprudential thinking in articulating notions of humanity that are not premised ‘anthropogenically’ on the exclusion of technology, and call for new approaches to evaluation and authority that are adequate to the realisation that ‘all life is artificial life’.

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This event is open to the public and free to attend however booking is required via this page. The event will be hosted on Collaborate, a free to access website. You will be sent a link to access the event upon registration.

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