Integrating Comprehensive Human Oversight in Drone Deployment: A Conceptual Framework Applied to the Case of Military Surveillance Drones

E.P. Verdiesen, Andrea Aler Tubella, M.V. Dignum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Accountability is a value often mentioned in the debate on intelligent systems and their increased pervasiveness in our society. When focusing specifically on autonomous systems, a critical gap emerges: although there is much work on governance and attribution of accountability, there is a significant lack of methods for the operationalisation of accountability within the socio-technical layer of autonomous systems. In the case of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles- or drones—the critical question of how to maintain accountability as they undertake fully autonomous flights becomes increasingly important as their uses multiply in both the commercial and military fields. In this paper, we aim to fill the operationalisation gap by proposing a socio-technical framework to guarantee human oversight and accountability in drone deployments, showing its enforceability in the real case of military surveillance drones. By keeping a focus on accountability and human oversight as values, we align with the emphasis placed on human responsibility, while requiring a concretisation of what these principles mean for each specific application, connecting them with concrete socio-technical requirements. In addition, by constraining the framework to observable elements of pre- and post-deployment, we do not rely on assumptions made on the internal workings of the drone nor the technical fluency of the operator.
Original languageEnglish
Article number385
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalInformation (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • comprehensive human oversight
  • surveillance drones
  • responsible AI
  • accountability
  • autonomous systems

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