IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019 - 42

used in literature and shows that there is no agreement
on one single definition yet. We have identified several
values that people associate with Autonomous Weapon
Systems. The overview is derived from both validated
value theories and from experts who are involved in the
debate on Autonomous Weapon Systems or work in the
military domain. We selected the values blame, trust,
harm, human dignity, confidence, expectations, support,
fairness, and anxiety based on our literature review, an
exploratory survey, and expert interviews. The results
provide insight into how a small sample of military personnel and civilians perceive these values for both the
human operated drone, as current technology, and for
Autonomous Weapon Systems, as future technology.
Although we cannot compare both studies directly, we
believe that our empirical results substantiate some of
the views and opinions on Autonomous Weapon Systems affecting human responsibility in the current

60
40

66

58

70

20
0

Human
Operated
Drone

Error Bars: +/- 1 SE

Neutral Agency High Agency
Autonomous Autonomous
Weapon
Weapon
Scenario

Mean Trust Value

FIGURE 6. Anxiety value study 2.

As this study is to our knowledge one of the first to gather empirical data of moral values related to Autonomous
Weapon Systems, we had to derive these related values
ourselves, and we can identify the following limitations
for our research. First, the operationalization of the values was derived from a categorization of literature
describing values. The questions that we used were
based on heuristics and we did not test if these questions were correct. This selection method would be hard
to replicate by others and affects the reproducibility and
internal validity of the study.
Secondly, the study was conducted using samples
based in northwest Europe and the U.S. Although we tried
to incorporate universal and well-studies values, such as
the value inventory of Friedman et al., [51] and BioEthics
values [37], this study takes a Western view on the moral
values related to the deployment of Autonomous Weapon
Systems. Also, anxiety is incorporated as a value in this

50

60

40

50

30
20

43

40

42

10
0

40
30
49

20

Human
Operated
Drone

Neutral Agency High Agency
Autonomous Autonomous
Weapon
Weapon
Scenario

FIGURE 7. Trust value study 2.

0

50

29

10

Error Bars: +/- 1 SE

42

Limitations

Mean Blame Value

Mean Anxiety Value

80

discourse. These could be used to move forward in the
ethical debate on Autonomous Weapon Systems.
Further common ground can be found on the values
of human dignity and anxiety. Our results show that military personnel and civilians are more anxious about the
deployment Autonomous Weapon Systems than the
deployment of human operated drones. Military personnel
and civilians working at the Dutch MOD also perceive
Autonomous Weapon Systems to have less respect for the
dignity of human life than human operated drones. This
effect was less apparent in Study 2, which consisted primarily of civilians. Human dignity and anxiety are two values that are mentioned often in the public discourse, so
in our opinion it would be essential to address these values when debating the ethics of the deployment of Autonomous Weapon Systems.

Human
Operated
Drone

Error Bars: +/- 1 SE

Neutral Agency High Agency
Autonomous Autonomous
Weapon
Weapon
Scenario

FIGURE 8. Blame value study 2.

IEEE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY MAGAZINE

∕

DECEMBER 2019



IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019

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