New Publication on Meaningful Human Control

Published 13 May 2022

Berenice Boutin and Taylor Woodcock have recently published a new Chapter entitled ‘Aspects of Realizing (Meaningful) Human Control: A Legal Perspective’. The Chapter will be forthcoming in: Robin Geiß and Henning Lahmann (eds.), Research Handbook on Warfare and Artificial Intelligence (Edward Elgar), and is available on SSRN.



The concept of ‘meaningful human control’ (MHC) has progressively emerged as a key frame of reference to conceptualize the difficulties posed by military applications of artificial intelligence (AI), and to identify solutions to mitigate these challenges. At the same time, this notion remains relatively indeterminate and difficult to operationalize. If MHC is to support the existing framework of international law applicable to military AI, it needs to be clarified in order to deal with the challenges of AI broadly construed, not limited to ‘autonomous weapons systems’ (AWS). This chapter seeks to refine the notion of MHC by exploring its nature and purpose, and reflecting on how MHC relates to core concepts of human agency and responsibility. Building on this analysis, we propose ways to operationalize MHC, in particular by putting greater emphasis on pre-deployment stages. A legal ‘compliance by design’ approach is advanced by the authors as a means to address the complex realities when military decision-making processes are mediated by AI-enabled technologies.

Read the paper here.