Conference "Autonomous Security Systems"

Call for Papers

Ethical and Legal Aspects of Autonomous Security Systems


An international conference to be held at the University of Zurich in Switzerland on May 2nd-3rd, 2019, aims to explore the ethical and legal aspects of autonomous systems in the security sector.

The conference is organized by Thomas Burri (University of St. Gallen), Markus Christen, and Markus Kneer (both at the University of Zurich).

The following speakers have agreed to give keynotes at the conference:

  • Philip Alston, New York University
  • Joanna Bryson, Bath University
  • Mary Manjikian, Robertson School of Government at Regent University
  • Patrick Lin, California Polytechnic State University
  • Robert Sparrow, Monash University
  • Shannon Vallor, Santa Clara University

We would like to invite contributions regarding the following topics: 

  • In-depth analyses of and critical reflections on the White Paper establishing an “Evaluation Schema for the Ethical Use of Autonomous Robotic Systems in Security Applications” (see: here), or on parts thereof;
  • Ethical and legal aspects of autonomous systems in cybersecurity (both defensive and offensive) with a view to extending the scope of the above White Paper to non-embodied systems;
  • The ethical and legal aspects of autonomous systems in the security sector more generally, including applications in the civil sector such as law enforcement, disaster management, humanitarian response etc.


  • Paper abstracts of 400 words and 1-page CV due: 18 February 2019;
  • notification of acceptance: 27 February 2019;
  • full papers due: 23 April 2019;
  • conference: 2/3 May 2019.

The organizers intend to publish a selection of contributions in an edited volume with a major international publisher. 

Cost: No conference fee is charged. A limited amount of travel support is available (please indicate need when submitting a paper abstract).


Contact: When submitting your paper to please indicate “Law and ethics of autonomous systems” in the email subject line. Please do not hesitate to contact us in case you have any questions. This call is also available here at the following website.

The conference is financed from public funds provided by the University of St. Gallen, the Digital Society initiative of the University of Zurich, the EU Horizon 2020 project CANVAS and armasuisse science + technology, the procurement branch of the administration of the federal state of Switzerland.