Negotiating autonomy and responsibility in military robots

Merel Noorman*, Deborah G. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Web of Science)


Central to the ethical concerns raised by the prospect of increasingly autonomous military robots are issues of responsibility. In this paper we examine different conceptions of autonomy within the discourse on these robots to bring into focus what is at stake when it comes to the autonomous nature of military robots. We argue that due to the metaphorical use of the concept of autonomy, the autonomy of robots is often treated as a black box in discussions about autonomous military robots. When the black box is opened up and we see how autonomy is understood and ‘made’ by those involved in the design and development of robots, the responsibility questions change significantly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
JournalEthics and Information Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Autonomy
  • Responsibility
  • Military robots

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