IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019 - 39

Research Method
To evaluate the role of the values blame, trust, harm,
human dignity, confidence, expectations, support, fairness, and anxiety on Autonomous Weapon Systems, we
conducted two studies, the first on a military sample and
the second on a sample consisting of civilians. We will
report on these studies separately given that they concern different, nonrepresentative, samples. We will first
describe the method of controlled experiments we used
and the scenarios. Next, we will show the operationalization of the values, and we will conclude this section with
a description of the sample.

Randomized Controlled Experiments
The method we used to conduct the two studies is
called a randomized controlled experiment. Oehlert
[64] mentions four reasons to create experiments: 1)
they allow for direct comparisons between treatments
of interest, 2) they can be designed to minimize any
bias in the comparisons, 3) they can be designed to
keep the error in the comparison small, and 4) we are
in control of the experiments, which allows us to make
stronger inferences about the nature of differences we
observe and especially allows us to make inferences
about causation. This last point distinguishes an experiment from an observational study. A treatment in this
sense is used for the different procedures we would
aim to compare. We use randomization in the studies
to vary the order of the scenarios and the order of the
questions posed to the respondents by means of a
probabilistic scheme.

Scenario
Scenarios are used in the field of cognitive science as
means to study moral judgement in randomized controlled experiments [65], [66]. We created a scenario
that describes a military operation in which a convoy
is delivering supplies in a conflict area (see Appendix B). The convoy is being approached by a vehicle at
high speed. This is a situation that is likely to happen
during these types of operations (https://news.un.org/
en/story/2019/01/1031342, https://www.bbc.com/
news/world-middle-east-49394759, https://english
.defensie.nl/latest/news/2019/08/28/a-look-at-the
-defence-news-19-%E2%80%93-25-august), and military personnel needs to estimate the level of threat in
order to decide to attack or not. We chose to focus on
drones, as this is technology that is currently used by
human operators and drones are already developed
with autonomy by several companies, such as BAE
systems (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Systems_
Taranis), Dassault Aviation (https://en.wikipedia.org/
w ik i/ Da s sau lt _ n E U ROn), a nd B oeing (ht t p s://
e n.w i k ip e d i a .o r g / w i k i / B o e i n g _ P h a nt o m _ R a y).
DECEMBER 2019

∕

The actions of Human Operated
drones are perceived as having
more respect for human dignity than
Autonomous Weapon Systems.
Although these Autonomous drones not yet deployed
in military operations, we think that is likely to happen
within the next five years.

Operationalization Values Construct
To measure the moral values related to Autonomous
Weapon Systems, the values are operationalized in nine
constructs: blame, trust, harm, human dignity, confidence, expectations, support, fairness, and anxiety.
Each of these variables was measured on a self-reported
scale of: 0 (strongly disagree) - 100 (strongly agree). The
corresponding questions can be found in Appendix A for
exact wording. The analysis of the dependent variables
is of an exploratory nature and the results are depicted

Appendix A
We used the following questions to measure moral values:
1) Blame: The drone is to blame for the action.
2) Trust: The drone can be trusted to take the correct
actions in the future.
3) Harm: The actions of the drone caused harm.
4) Human dignity: The actions of the drone respect human
dignity.
5) Confidence: I am confident that the drone will take the
correct actions in the future.
6) Expectations: The actions of the drone are according to
my expectations.
7) Support: I support the use of these type of drones by the
military.
8) Fairness: The actions of the drone are fair.
9) Anxiety: The actions of the drone worry me.
Each of these variables was measured on a self-reported
scale of: 0 (strongly disagree) - 100 (strongly agree).
Demographic Variables
We also added questions to collect demographic information
on the respondents and added variables on: age, gender,
education level, occupation, and nationality. In addition to
these general demographic questions we asked if respondents
had experience with Artificial Intelligence, if they worked with
drones, and if they have been in a conflict zone.

IEEE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY MAGAZINE

39


https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/01/1031342 https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/01/1031342 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49394759 https://english.defensie.nl/latest/news/2019/08/28/a-look-at-the-defence-news-19-%E2%80%93-25-august https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49394759 https://english.defensie.nl/latest/news/2019/08/28/a-look-at-the-defence-news-19-%E2%80%93-25-august https://english.defensie.nl/latest/news/2019/08/28/a-look-at-the-defence-news-19-%E2%80%93-25-august https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Systems_Taranis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Systems_Taranis https://en.wikipedia.org/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_Phantom_Ray https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_Phantom_Ray

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