Killer Robots Killing the Rule of Law? | 2019 | Events

Killer Robots Killing the Rule of Law?
Mary Ellen O'Connell
University of Notre Dame
November 13, 2019
Building E40-496 (Pye Room)


Law exists to control the use of force and violence in creating the conditions for flourishing communities—including the international community. But developments since the Cold War have so weakened commitment to law, it may have little constraining effect in a world awash with AI killing machines.



Mary Ellen O'Connell is the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution—Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Her work is in the areas of international law on the use of force, international dispute resolution, and international legal theory. She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on these subjects, including: The Art of Law in the International Community (Cambridge University Press, May 2019); Self-Defence Against Non-State Actors (with Tams and Tladi, Cambridge University Press, July 2019); What is War? An Investigation in the Wake of 9/11 (Martinus Nijhof/Brill, 2012); and The Power and Purpose of International Law (Oxford University Press, 2008).


In 2018, Professor O’Connell was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School and a Fulbright Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. In April 2018, she presented the Fifth Annual Justice Stephen Breyer International Law Lecture at the Brookings Institution, Autonomous Weapons and International Law. From 2010-2012, she was a vice president of the American Society of International Law and from 2005 to 2010 chaired the International Law Association Committee on the Use of Force. Professor O’Connell served as a Title X professional military educator for the U.S. Department of Defense in Germany and was also an associate attorney in private practice with the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. She holds an MSc from LSE, an LLB and PhD from Cambridge, and a JD from Columbia.