About the project

The Artificial Intelligence and the International Rule of Law Workshop Series aims to explore fundamental questions about the relationship between international legal obligations and emerging applications of artificial intelligence (AI) that bear upon key domains of international law: the laws of war, human rights and refugee law.

The challenges of AI are an ever-present subject of debate and discussion, and the public are presented with a constant refrain that AI will change everything. In actuality, current real-world AI development and application is particularly tangible and visible in one domain: the delegation of decisions by public authorities (national and international) to AI systems.

The workshop series will explore these processes within three specific domains: AI and battlefield decision-making under the laws of war; AI and the digitalisation of welfare policy; and AI and refugee determination and border control. These three domains of real-world AI application by public powers raise fundamental questions about the rule of international law in the creation, use and responsibility for AI systems to which law-governed decisions have been partially or fully delegated.

Each workshop will develop a case study based on an existing technology or in-development platform, and engage with policy-makers, computer scientists, technologists, industry representatives and individuals working at the cutting-edge of developing and using these systems.

The workshops will build an international network of research and collaboration which develops common frameworks of understanding and knowledge exchange on issues related to AI and international rule of law. This will allow the Scottish based researchers to leverage their very considerable expertise and capacity across the fields of law, informatics, philosophy, social studies of science and sociology, and contribute to making Scotland a critical node in this international network.

The workshop series is funded by Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland under its inaugural Carnegie Research Workshops scheme, and is also supported by the University of Edinburgh’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Challenge Investment Fund, Edinburgh Law School and the Edinburgh Futures Institute.