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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What are the ethical considerations surrounding the use of technology in warfare and armed conflicts, and how can they be addressed? (150 words)

    12 Jan, 2023 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Start your answer by briefly describing use of technology in warfare
    • Discuss whether using technology in warfare is ethical and how can this issue be addressed.
    • Conclude accordingly.


    • The use of technology in warfare and armed conflicts has raised complex ethical questions. The rise of remote-controlled warfare, cyber warfare, and autonomous weapons has raised new questions about how these new weapon technologies conform to the international laws of war. The use of these new technologies is further complicated by the nature of the conflict they are employed in.


    • Important considerations around technology in warfare are as follows:
      • Protection of civilian populations:
        • The use of precision-guided munitions and other technological advances in warfare has the potential to reduce civilian casualties, but it also raises the possibility of increased targeting of civilian infrastructure and the use of technology to carry out indiscriminate attacks.
      • Use of autonomous weapons systems: As they are automated and equipped with cutting edge technology, which raises questions about accountability and the potential for these systems to make decisions that violate international humanitarian law.
      • Cyber warfare: It is another area of concern, as the use of cyber-attacks can disrupt critical infrastructure and cause widespread disruption and destruction.
        • Additionally, the use of cyber-attacks raises questions about the applicability of traditional concepts of warfare and the potential for unintended consequences. .
    • Disrupt international rule of law:
      • The use of technology in warfare and armed conflicts have the major impacts of on the international laws of war.
      • As these technologies are relatively new, there may be gaps in international laws and regulations that govern their use.
      • This can make it difficult to ensure that they are used in accordance with international humanitarian law, which governs the conduct of warfare.
    • Addressing Ethical Considerations:
      • To address these ethical considerations, international laws and regulations need to be developed and implemented to govern the use of technology in warfare and armed conflicts.
        • Additionally, dialogue and cooperation between nations and international organizations can promote responsible use of technology in warfare and support the development of ethical guidelines for its use
        • This could include regulations on the use of advanced technology and autonomous weapons systems, as well as guidelines for the use of surveillance and cyber warfare.
      • Another approach is to implement transparency and accountability measures, such as the use of cameras or other monitoring systems to ensure that the use of technology in warfare is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner.
        • Additionally, the development of ethical guidelines and codes of conduct for the use of technology in warfare could be implemented.
      • Further, these guidelines and regulations can help ensure that the technology is being used in a way that is consistent with international laws and ethical principles.


    The use of technology in warfare and armed conflicts raises important ethical considerations that must be addressed. These include the potential for increased civilian casualties and violations of human rights. Addressing these ethical considerations will require a combination of international laws and regulations, transparency and accountability measures, and the development of ethical guidelines and codes of conduct.

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