Lunch seminar with Lena Trabucco

Is the Future of War in the Hands of Silicon Valley? The Role of Tech Sector in the US-China Race for Technological Superiority

Scholars and policymakers are urgently trying to conceptualize and understand how artificial intelligence (AI) will shape the future. One indisputable application that requires further exploration is the utilization of AI in future military operations. As a military technology, AI has lethal and non-lethal applications, and harbors legal uncertainty and political friction. The United States and China are currently engaging in a strategic competition for technological superiority in the realm of data acquisition (5G) and artificial intelligence. A global race to weaponize new technology is not a new phenomenon in international politics; however, the imperative role of technology companies as the driving innovators of AI is an unprecedented feature of this technological revolution and has been largely absent from academic debate. Lena Trabucco’s research project explores how tech companies will shape the future of warfare with a particular focus on lethal autonomy in the American and Chinese militaries. She will explore the existing international legal uncertainties for major players in the tech sector that are working with military partners to create autonomous weapons, specifically legal responsibility and IHL compliance with targeting rules. Additionally, she will address the role of tech companies in the ensuing geopolitical competition for technological superiority. The presentation concludes with implications of American-Chinese competition for the future of European defence policy.

About the speaker

Lena Trabucco is currently a dual PhD candidate in International Relations at Northwestern University and The Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen (iCourts). She is also a former Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and Oxford University’s Department of Politics and International Relations. She has taught on issues of international security, U.S. foreign policy, politics of international law and international human rights law.

For participation in this event, please use this registration form no later than 27 May 2020.