Mandatory failsafe systems in the spotlight

Tamsin Scholz for AL JAZEERA


The issue of mandatory failsafe systems for autonomous weapons has caused some debate at DISEC this morning.

Russia raised the point, which followed the shooting down of a civilian Russian aircraft over Iran yesterday.

A United States’ rogue autonomous plane was responsible for the deaths.

South Korea responded to the call by Russia to make failsafe systems mandatory rather than recommended with support, but some concern.

The delegate argued any introduction of this regulation should be as ‘broad’ as possible; to allay fears it could harm a state’s national defence system.

Other actors, including non-state entities, being able to access and shut down state’s autonomous weapons systems was a key problem.

Germany backed up South Korea’s comments, also concerned about losing control of autonomous weapons to non-state actors.

The United Kingdom urged the council to come to a unanimous agreement on the issue, while Iran argued swift decision making was necessary to prevent more lives being lost.


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