Lethal autonomous weapons systems & artificial intelligence: Trends, challenges, and policies

Shayne Longpre*, Marcus Storm, and Rishi Shah 

Edited by Kevin McDermott

Article | Aug. 29 2022

*Email: slongpre@mit.edu

DOI: 10.38105/spr.360apm5typ


  • Autonomous weapons are rapidly proliferating: in accessibility, their degrees of autonomy, the range of international developers, and their tactical roles in intelligence, reconnaissance, and lethal strikes.
  • Autonomous systems remain highly prone to error, demonstrating poor robustness, interpretability, and adversarial vulnerability.
  • Major military powers abstain from treaty proposals, while other nations and humanitarian organizations urgently demand regulation.
  • International and U.S. policy remains ambiguous and lacks realistic accountability and enforcement mechanisms.

Article Summary

We see and expect increased global proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons. Global coordination is needed to control and regulate these weapons.

Open Access


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Shayne Longpre

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Rishi Shah

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA