Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 51–62

Negotiating autonomy and responsibility in military robots

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10676-013-9335-0

Cite this article as:
Noorman, M. & Johnson, D.G. Ethics Inf Technol (2014) 16: 51. doi:10.1007/s10676-013-9335-0


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.


Autonomy Responsibility Military robots 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.eHumanitiesRoyal Netherlands Academy of Arts and SciencesAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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