Death by Algorithm

April 25 Webinar Will Explore the Use, Control, and Legality of Lethal and Other Autonomous Weapons Systems

New York, NY, April 16, 2024 – The ACM US Technology Policy Committee will host a webinar on autonomous weapons systems, “Death by Algorithm: The Use, Control, and Legality of Lethal and Other Autonomous Weapons Systems,” on Thursday, April 25 from 12:30 - 2:00 pm (EDT). Once considered science fiction, later an abstract engineering challenge, and now the subject of nearly daily news headlines, autonomous weapons systems long ago left the drawing board for the battlefield. Employed in conflicts today, such systems remain controversial and are ungov­erned by any broad binding international agreement. The webinar is free and open to all, however registration is required.

The panelists will explore topics below and take questions from the audience.

  • The integration of autonomous weapon systems into military and intelligence operations including lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS).
  • The role of artificial intelligence.
  • The use of autonomous weapons in ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza will be discussed, as well as approaches to risk management for AI-enabled military systems.
  • US legal considerations, including DoD regulations, and legal obligations under international humanitarian law and the laws of armed conflict.
  • The role of normative frameworks—such as the recent Political Declaration on the Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy—put forward by the U.S. and endorsed by 52 countries.


  • Larry Medsker (Moderator) Chairs ACM’s US Technology Policy Committee and is Research Professor of Physics at the University of Vermont. He also serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of AI and Ethics , Associate Editor of Neural Computing and Applications, and Policy Officer for ACM’s Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (SIGAI).
  • Ronald C. Arkin is Regents' Professor Emeritus in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, where he also served as Associate Dean for Research. His books include Behavior-Based Robotics , Robot Colonies, and Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots .
  • Gary Corn is the director of the Technology, Law & Security Program at American University Washington College of Law. He is also a senior fellow in national security and cybersecurity at the R Street Institute. A retired US Army colonel, Corn’s previous positions have included staff judge advocate to US Cyber Command.
  • Lt. General Jack Shanahan, United States Air Force, retired in 2020 after a 36-year military career. Shanahan is currently Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Technology and National Security Program, and a member of the CNAS Defense Technology Task Force.
  • Jody Westby is the Vice Chair of ACM’s US Technology Policy Committee. She founded Global Cyber Risk LLC, which provides advisory and technical services to organizations in the areas of cyber governance, privacy, cybersecurity, incident response, and digital asset inventories and data mapping.

About the ACM Technology Policy Council

ACM’s global Technology Policy Council sets the agenda for ACM’s global policy activities and serves as the central convening point for ACM's interactions with government organizations, the computing community, and the public in all matters of public policy related to computing and information technology. The Council’s members are drawn from ACM's global membership. It coordinates the activities of ACM's regional technology policy groups and sets the agenda for global initiatives to address evolving technology policy issues.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

Jim Ormond
[email protected]

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