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Human-machine interfaces in autonomous weapon systems

Human-machine interfaces in autonomous weapon systems

21 July 2022

Ioana Puscas

40 Pages

Discussions in the GGE LAWS have repeatedly expressed calls for a deeper understanding of the concept of ‘human control’, which is central to the debates on autonomous weapons. 
Human-machine interfaces (HMIs), the hardware and software components that ensure the communication between machines and human operators, have been touted as a key element of human control over autonomous weapons systems. While this is, strictly speaking, correct as interfaces allow operators to monitor the state and behaviour of a remote system, as well as manually (re-)establish control when needed, the optimal use of HMIs relies on a complex mix of factors. These include, but are not limited to, context of use, ergonomics/human factors design, personnel training, complexities of decision-making and human-machine interaction in dynamic environments, and the unique challenges related to AI/ML-based learning systems.

This report analyzes HMIs in autonomous systems and explores key considerations of HMIs use, testing and design. Drawing on these, it considers implications for human control and proposes recommendations for the Group’s work.

linked programmes

Security and Technology

sponsor organization

Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Microsoft

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