Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DRONETHICS (Emergent Ethics of Drone Violence: Toward a Comprehensive Governance Framework)
Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30
DRONETHICS is helping to ensure ethical debate keeps pace with the accelerating global proliferation and scientific progress of militarized drone technology. Based on our theorization of the multifaceted nature of drone violence, and our assessment of moral arguments for and against it, we aim to develop principled, evidence-based policy recommendations. The rationale for pursuing this expansive approach to emergent ethics is that it is more conducive to discerning the true essence of drone violence and thus more likely to lead to a holistic framework for governing it effectively and justly. Our research is focused on addressing three big questions: (1) What is drone violence? (2) Why can drone violence be morally justified or condemned? (3) How should drone violence be prevented, restricted or permitted? Accordingly, the three main objectives of DRONETHICS are: (Theory) to develop a comprehensive theory of drone violence as a basis for normative thinking; (Judgment) to discover and assess how officials, academics, drone operators and AI engineers make a moral case for or against drone violence; and (Governance) to generate value-sensitive policy recommendations on preventing, restricting or permitting drone violence in various kinds of circumstances.
The Principal Investigator (PI) has recruited two postdoctoral research associates (PDRAs) who commenced work in December 2018 (PDRA1) and February 2019 (PDRA2), and a project website was launched in May 2019. In July 2019 we organised a research workshop in Southampton with 14 participants (from Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands, UK and US) presenting and debating on the theme “Governing Drone Violence: Concepts, Moralities, and Rules”. Selected workshop papers were revised into 9 chapters for a volume edited by the PI and published in January 2021. Planning for a policy-oriented workshop to test project findings is underway. All project team members have received approval from a University of Southampton research ethics committee to conduct in-person or online interviews, recruitment of research participants has commenced, and an appointed Ethics Adviser has been available to give independent advice. Our manuscript submissions to publishers include: 9 articles, 1 conference paper, 1 authored book, 1 edited volume, and 6 chapters. We have also disseminated findings or exchanged ideas through: 10 conference presentations, 13 workshop presentations, and 43 other events.
The PI has: managed the PDRAs; led WPs 1-3 and 7, and contributed to WPs 4-6; maintained the website; arranged appointment of an Ethics Adviser; received ethics approval to conduct interviews; commenced recruitment of research participants; co-organized a research workshop; secured 2 book contracts; submitted to publishers 4 articles, 4 chapters and 1 edited volume; commenced writing 1 authored book; participated in 6 conferences and 3 workshops; and disseminated findings or exchanged ideas at 22 other events.
PDRA1 has: led WP4 and contributed to WPs 1, 6 and 7; received ethics approval to conduct interviews; commenced recruitment of research participants; co-organized a research workshop; submitted to publishers 2 articles and 1 chapter; participated in 1 conference and 2 workshops; and disseminated findings or exchanged ideas at 3 other events.
PDRA2 has: led WP5 and contributed to WPs 1, 6 and 7; received ethics approval to conduct interviews; commenced recruitment of research participants; submitted to publishers 4 articles, 3 chapters, 1 conference paper, and 1 book manuscript; participated in 3 conferences and 8 workshops; and disseminated findings or exchanged ideas at 18 other events.