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Nanotechnologies and soldier enhancement


Although the consequences that drones, cyber and autonomous weapons may cause when used during armed conflict are difficult to assess, at least there seems to be some agreement on the type of challenges they pose. This is not (yet?) the case for nanotechnologies and soldier enhancement.

While nanotechnologies are widely considered to be a transformational technology with profound implications for all aspects of modern society, there seems to be little research done on their potential legal, ethical or humanitarian consequences.



Hitoshi Nasu gives an introduction to nanotechnology and the challenges it can present for IHL when used for military purposes.

Soldier enhancement

Soldier enhancement techniques are one example which is already no longer the realm of science fiction: how will physical and cognitive enhancement technologies, DNA-hacking, gene therapies, and human-machine interfaces change the face of war? How may IHL rules, and in particular the obligation to ensure the legality of weapons, the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution be applied to such techniques?


Rain Liivoja, Ian Henderson and Ned Dobos discuss the legal, operational and ethical challenges posed by science and new technologies on the battlefield, in particular human enhancement such as physical and cognitive enhancement technologies, DNA-hacking, gene therapies and human-machine interfaces. Moderated by Helen Durham.