Since 1966 – International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts – Italian Pugwash Group

30th ISODARCO Winter Course

Andalo (Trento) 8 – 15 January 2017


Advanced and Cyber Weapons Systems: Technology and Arms Control

Director of the School: Carlo Schaerf (Isodarco, Rome, Italy)
Directors of the Course: Giampiero Giacomello (Department of Political and Social Sciences, SPS, University of Bologna, Italy), Riccardo Antonini (Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Roma, Italy)

Group Photo 30th ISODARCO Winter Course
Group Photo


The search for the ultimate weapon has always motivated military planners and engineers to exploit for military purposes new scientific discoveries and technological advances, thereby causing qualitative arms races. The breadth and pace of development in computers, networks, robotics and artificial intelligence suggests the emergence of new generations of weapons, in cyberspace and in the physical world, that will be compact, unmanned and, perhaps, with independent decision-making capability. Could the speed of action-reaction in future conflicts require to put humans “out-of-the-loop”? This conclusion would be quite dangerous, because autonomous weapon systems, in cyber and real space, will inevitably be prone to serious hardware limitations and unreliability, design and programming errors, deception, tampering or, simply, hacking. This ISODARCO Course aims at understanding modern autonomous weapons technology as well as the possibilities and prospects of related arms control limitations.