IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019 - 43

study, because we were curious to see how Autonomous
Weapon Systems as future technology would compare on
this aspect to the current technology of human operated
drones, but in retrospect anxiety is an emotion instead of
a moral value. Therefore, this study should be regarded as
exploratory and requires follow-up studies in different cultures to see if the results will hold.

Recommendations for Further Research
Given the exploratory nature of this study and the limitations mentioned above, we suggest several recommendations for further research. The first is to run
follow-up studies to investigate if the results on moral
values related to Autonomous Weapon Systems hold in
different samples and in different cultures that have a
different attitude toward drones, robots, and AI technology than we as the authors in the Western world have.
Another approach to consider which values are relevant in the deployment of Autonomous Weapon Systems
is the specification of values into design requirements to
see how these values would be perceived in practice.
This can be made visible by means of a value hierarchy
[67], which is a hierarchical structure of values, norms,
and design requirements. A value hierarchy will to make
the value judgements that are required for the translation
explicit, transparent, and debatable. To do so, the values
that are described in the natural language will need to be
translated to "formal values in a formal language" [68].
One way of formalizing values into norms would be to
use a convention of rules represented as: "X counts as Y"
or "X counts as Y in context C" [69]. The explicitness of
values in formal rules and visibility in a value hierarchy
would allow for critical reflection in debates and pinpoint
the value judgements that are disagreed on.
In this study we provided empirical results to fill the
knowledge gap on moral values related to Autonomous
Weapon Systems that aim to understand the perception
of people regarding the introduction of Autonomous
Weapon Systems. The recommendations for further
research, being a follow-up study for the moral values in
related AI fields, and the creation of a value hierarchy,
will be conducted at our research group at Delft University of Technology by our graduate students. Continuing
our research effort in this field would help better define
the "fundamental moral line" that should not be crossed
[33]. The results of these studies reveal a common
ground regarding the moral values of human dignity and
anxiety, pertaining to the introduction of Autonomous
Weapon Systems. The concerns for Autonomous Weapon
Systems mentioned in the public debate deserve to be
carefully considered in future debates on the ethics of
the design and deployment of Autonomous Weapon Systems. We believe that our empirical results substantiate
some of the views and opinions on Autonomous Weapon
DECEMBER 2019

∕

Systems affecting human responsibility in the current discourse; these results could be used to move forward in
the ethical debate on Autonomous Weapon Systems.

Acknowledgment
The authors would like to thank Sydney Levine, Iyad
Rahwan of the Scalable Cooperation Group at the Media
Lab of M.I.T., and Jeroen van der Hoven of Delft University of Technology for their insightful comments, sharp
discussions, and supervision of the research.

Author Information
Ilse Verdiesen and Filippo Santoni de Sio are with Delft
University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The
Netherlands. Virginia Dignum is with Delft University of
Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands,
and with Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden. Email:
e.p.verdiesen@tudelft.nl.

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https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/28/weapons-autonomyis-rocketing/ https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/28/weapons-autonomyis-rocketing/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQBFJkMnBcA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQBFJkMnBcA https://www.stopkillerrobots.org/

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