Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Faculty of Law


Humanitarian law, Artificial intelligence, Canada


R. Nelson


W. Aoun




Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most remarkable achievements in the technology world. AI can be used dually by both civilians and combatants, serving with both beneficial and harmful aims. In the military realm, by empowering military systems to perform most warfare tasks without human involvement, AI developments have changed the capacity of militaries to conduct complex operations with heightened legal implications. Accordingly, it is vital to consider the consequences emanating from its use in military operations. International Humanitarian Law (IHL), also known as the laws of war, or the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), is a set of rules which regulates armed conflict between States, as well as civil wars. IHL protects people who are not involved or have ceased participating in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of war. While capabilities of new means of military AI continue to advance at incredible rates, on an international level, IHL principles should be revisited to account for the new reality in military operations. Additionally, on a national level, the impacts of military AI developments on military power for international competition have attracted the attention of national authorities. Therefore, studying both international and national pathways will be necessary as the first step toward promoting transparency in legal rules. Ultimately, central to my research is analyzing the Canadian perspective on IHL and the military use of AI at both national and international levels. Using a comparative approach with the American perspective, I conclude that if Canada develops more cohesive policies on the new military use of AI, it could become a legal leader in this realm.

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