War Algorithms in Modern Deliberative Democracies: Parliamentary Technology Assessment as a Public Conscience Discovery Tool?





lethal autonomous weapon systems, public conscience, qualified public opinion, parliamentary technology assessment


This paper is focused on the intersection of public international law and parliamentary assessment of technologies in the context of discussions on the lethal applications of artificial intelligence. The authors discuss the ‘public conscience requirements’ of the Martens clause as an opportunity to increase the legitimacy of international law by including qualified public opinion in the international law-making process. This is particularly important in the case of controversial technologies such as lethal autonomous weapons systems, which have a fundamental impact on warfare and the application of which comes with both unprecedented benefits and as well as risks for humankind. The authors advocate the actual use of the Parliamentary Technology Assessment (PTA) mechanism as a method based on democratic deliberation and participation, which – especially in times of disinformation and fake news – can provide a reliable source of information and sights for both policy makers as well as the general public. PTA can be also seen as an institutionalised channel allowing civil society to exercise oversight over disruptive military technologies.

Biografia do Autor

Kaja Kowalczewska, Digital Justice Center, University of Wrocław

Kaja Kowalczewska holds a Ph.D. in public international law. She is Associate Professor at the Digital Justice Center (https://digitaljustice.uwr.edu.pl/),University of Wroclaw. Her research interests include the impact of new technologies on armed conflict and the right to life. (Corresponding author). Email: kaja.kowalczewska@uwr.edu.pl

Barbara Kijewska, Institute of Political Science, University of Gdańsk

Barbara Kijewska holds a Ph.D. in political science. She is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Policy and Administration (the Institute of Political Science at the University of Gdańsk, Poland), where she works as a researcher and lecturer. Email: barbara.kijewska@ug.edu.pl


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