The Directorate of Defence has announced that this year's Luxembourg Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) conference will take place on 25 and 26 April 2023.
This international public conference, hosted by Luxembourg's Minister of Defence, François Bausch, aims to raise public awareness on the topic and offer all stakeholders a platform to discuss the risks and challenges associated with the use of autonomous weapons systems (AWS).
The Directorate of Defence noted that technological advancements in the domain of weapons systems, with an increasing number of automated and autonomous features, present governments, industry, civil society and academia with new challenges on the ethical, legal and technical levels. The directorate added that the impact this technology could have on human rights, on people's lives and on democratic values must be analysed and understood by decision makers. LAWS 2023 will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the potential benefits, challenges, ongoing work and risks associated with AWS.
This free two-day event will take place at the Maison des Arts et des Etudiants in Esch-Belval. On the first day, after an opening speech by Minister Bausch, Dr Paul Scharre, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security, will give a keynote speech. On the second day, national and international experts will discuss governance frameworks, technical challenges, ethical considerations and military use cases for AWS at different expert panels.
Additional information, regular updates on the programme of LAWS 2023 and a livestream of the event can be found on laws-conference.lu.
On 22 July 2022, the Luxembourg Government Council (Cabinet) agreed to the establishment of an interministerial working group on lethal autonomous weapon systems. This interministerial working group, under the coordination of the Directorate for Defence, has been assigned to develop Luxembourg's position on AWS. In addition, the working group has been tasked to work out proposals on how to regulate AWS at international and, if necessary, national level, as well as guidelines on how to ensure and verify compliance with these regulations.
The discussions and outcomes of the LAWS 2023 will help to identify avenues of reflection for the development of a position for Luxembourg on this subject.