DILEMA Lecture by Rebecca Crootof

Published 6 November 2020

On Tuesday 1 December 2020, Dr Rebecca Crootof (University of Richmond School of Law) will deliver the inaugural lecture of the DILEMA Lecture Series. The Lecture will address the topic of ‘Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Weapon Systems, and Accidents in War’. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Dr Berenice Boutin, Senior Researcher in International Law and DILEMA Project Leader.

To register for this event, click here.


Artificial intelligence, autonomous weapon systems, cyberoperations, and other new military technologies are challenging core legal assumptions by facilitating previously rare actions, blurring established legal categories, and exposing the limits of existing regulatory institutions. Dr Crootof will discuss how, while long recognised as a moral and strategic problem, the accountability gap for accidents in war is becoming more salient as a host of technological advances simultaneously increase the sources of error and misdirect responsibility for their consequences. But there is a silver lining: by throwing these issues into sharper relief, new technologies highlight the need for mechanisms to hold states accountable for undesired harms.

About the Speaker

Dr Rebecca Crootof is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law. Dr Crootof’s primary areas of research include technology law, international law, and torts; her written work explores questions stemming from the iterative relationship between law and technology, often in light of social changes sparked by increasingly autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, cyberoperations, robotics, and the Internet of Things. She is interested in the ways both domestic and international legal regimes respond to and shape technological development, particularly in the armed conflict context.

She is an affiliated fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School; she consults for the Institute for Defense Analyses; she is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy and is an Associate Editor on AI and the Law for the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research; and she is a member of the New York Bar, the Board of Directors of the Equal Rights Center, the Center for New American Security’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence and National Security, and the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the United Nations’ Council of Advisers on the Application of the Rome Statute to Cyberwarfare.

About the DILEMA Lecture Series

The DILEMA Lecture Series regularly invites academics and other experts working on issues related to the DILEMA project to present their work and share reflections with a general audience comprising researchers, students, and professionals. Topics of interest within the scope of this lecture series include technical perspectives on military applications of AI, philosophical inquiries into human control and human agency over technologies, analyses of international law in relation to (military) AI, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and interdisciplinary contributions related to these topics.