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Event Details

RoboCup 2019 Talks: RoboWarfare

4 July 2019
7:30pm – 8:30pm
Lower Town Hall, Sydney Town Hall
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Robot drone graphic


Should robots have the right to kill?

We owe so much of our technological innovation to the relationship between the tech industry and the military, without it we wouldn’t have satellite navigation or the internet. So what happens when military engineers start building lethal autonomous weapons who can make their own decisions on the frontline?

A future where robots march alongside human soldiers into battle is no longer just a science fiction fantasy. The rise of robots could make warfare safer for civilians and reduce the lethality of war, but should robots ever have the right to kill?

Join law expert Lyria Bennett Moses, professor of AI Toby Walsh and autonomous weapons systems researcher Jai Galliott, to explore the quandaries and benefits of robots and AI on the frontline.

Presented by UNSW Centre for Ideas as a part of RoboCup 2019 Sydney, an international robot soccer competition and robotics conference.

Part of the UNSW Grand Challenge: Living with 21st Century Technology.

Want more robots?

Make a night of it and attend the earlier event at Sydney Town Hall. Find out when the robots are moving in at a free event on the Saturday.

Navigate the ethical minefield of living with robots.
Lower Town Hall, Thu 4 Jul, 6pm, $10 + booking fee

Big ideas and new developments in AI as we start cohabiting with robots.
ICC Sydney (Exhibition Centre Lvl3, Room E3.2), Sat 6 Jul, 2pm, Free


Wheelchair Accessible

Sydney Town Hall’s accessible entrance is via the Druitt St (opposite the Queen Victoria Building). Accessible unisex toilet facilities are available on each publicly accessible floor of the building. If you require assistance when visiting the building, please contact Sydney Town Hall to discuss your requirements on 02 9265 9282

Hearing Loop Available

Companion Card

The Centre for Ideas supports the Companion Card program. For patrons who require assistance of a companion or carer, a second ticket is issued at no cost to the Companion Card holder. 


The Centre for Ideas can provide Auslan interpreting services for selected talks upon request.


To discuss your access requirements and to book any access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9385 1000 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9385 1000. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9385 1000. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9385 1000.

Lyria Bennett Moses Portrait

Lyria Bennett Moses

Lyria Bennett Moses is Director of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation and a Professor in the Faculty of Law at UNSW Sydney. Lyria's research explores issues around the relationship between technology and law, including the types of legal issues that arise as technology changes, how these issues are addressed in Australia and other jurisdictions, the application of standard legal categories such as property in new socio-technical contexts, the use of technologically-specific and sui generis legal rules, and the problems of treating “technology” as an object of regulation. Lyria has been a Key Researcher and Project Leader on the Data to Decisions CRC, exploring legal and policy issues surrounding the use of data and data analytics for defence, national security and law enforcement. Lyria is also Lead of the UNSW Grand Challenge on “Living with 21st Century Technology”.

Jai Galliott

Jai Galliott

Dr Jai Galliott is leader of the Values in Defence & Security Technology Group at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He initially trained as a Principal Warfare Officer in the Australian Navy, but resigned his commission in 2007 to pursue an academic career. He has since received numerous degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and sociology from Macquarie University in Sydney, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a PhD on the ethical and social implication of autonomous systems from Macquarie University. Galliott was the first person in Macquarie University's history to submit a full book manuscript as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, which was awarded without corrections.

Toby Walsh portrait

Toby Walsh

Toby Walsh is a leading researcher in artificial intelligence. He was named by The Australian newspaper as a "rock star" of Australia's digital revolution. Walsh is Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW, leads the Algorithmic Decision Theory group at Data61, Australia's Centre of Excellence for ICT Research, and is Guest Professor at TU Berlin. He has been elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and has won the prestigious Humboldt research award, as well as the NSW Premier's Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT. Walsh regularly appears in the media talking about the impact of AI and robotics and his twitter account has been voted one of the top ten to follow to keep abreast of developments in AI. He has played a leading role at the UN and elsewhere on the campaign to ban lethal autonomous weapons (aka "killer robots”).

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