When the U. S. invaded Iraq in 2003, its total robotic arsenal included less than ten aerial drones. By 2010, the United States has in excess of 10,000 robots—including air, ground and sea-based systems. 44 countries are developing robotic capabilities in their armed forces. The 2010 Sutton Conference, Drones and their Implication for International Law addressed these and other questions: As technology becomes more precise, what level of civilian collateral damage is acceptable under the LOAC? Are some of the robotic systems, such as fully autonomous weapons, prohibited outright under the LOAC? Should they be? Does a robot have a right of lethal self-defense against an attacker? What is the relationship between human rights and the LOAC when the United States is deploying drones against insurgents hiding within a civilian population?
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