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Security and the Autonomous Future

Security and the Autonomous Future

Security and the Autonomous Future

The Penn State Center for Security Research and Education (CSRE) and the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs (JLIA) are proud to present their Spring 2019 Symposium: Security and the Autonomous Future.

Join Penn State Faculty and other invited national experts to explore how autonomous systems will affect our personal, national, and global security.

This event is free and open to the public, and includes a continental breakfast, full lunch, keynote address by Paul Scharre, and access to expert panels on emerging technology, ethics of conflict, international norms, domestic security, and how autonomous systems affect the meaning of humanity.

Six CLE credits are available (five hours of substantive and one hour of ethics). Attendees registering for CLE credits will be charged a $25 fee.

Registration is now closed.

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 4:30pm to Friday, April 5, 2019 - 3:30pm
Lewis Katz Building

All events takes place in the Sutliff Auditorium of the Lewis Katz Building.

April 4

Keynote address by Paul Scharre, author of Army of None, 4:30 p.m.

April 5

Continental Breakfast, 7:30-8:00 a.m.

Panel 1: Autonomous Systems and Emerging Technology, 8:00-9:15 a.m.

Panel 2: Autonomous Systems and the Ethics of Conflict, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Panel 3: Autonomous Systems and International Norms, 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Lunch, 12:00-12:45 p.m.

Panel 4: Autonomous Systems and Domestic Security, 12:45-2:00 p.m.

Panel 5: Autonomous Systems and the Meaning of Humanity, 2:15-3:30 p.m.

The keynote speaker is Paul Scharre, senior fellow and director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is author of the book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, published in April 2018.

From 2008-2013, Scharre worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) where he played a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies. Scharre led the DoD working group that drafted DoD Directive 3000.09, establishing the Department’s policies on autonomy in weapon systems. He also led DoD efforts to establish policies on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) programs and directed energy technologies. He was involved in the drafting of policy guidance in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, and Secretary-level planning guidance. His most recent position was special assistant to the under secretary of defense for policy.

Prior to joining OSD, Scharre served as a special operations reconnaissance team leader in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion and completed multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate of the Army’s Airborne, Ranger, and Sniper Schools and Honor Graduate of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Ranger Indoctrination Program.

Scharre has published articles in The New York Times, CNN, TIME, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Politico, and The National Interest, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and the BCC. He has testified before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and has presented at the United Nations, NATO, the Pentagon, the CIA, and other national security venues. Scharre is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds an M.A. in political economy and public policy and a B.S. in physics, cum laude, both from Washington University in St. Louis.


  • David Atkinson, head of systems and technology and chief research scientist for artificial intelligence at Continental AG's Silicon Valley Research & Development Center
  • Douglas Burig, major, Pennsylvania State Police, and director, Pennsylvania's Bureau of Criminal Investigation
  • Marc Canellas, J.D. student at New York University School of Law and a Jacobson Leadership Program in Law and Business Scholar and Cybersecurity Service Scholar
  • William Casebeer, director of the Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab
  • Kevin Chan, electrical engineer, Army Research Laboratory
  • Micah Clark, senior scientist for autonomy, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science at the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory
  • David Danks, L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology and head of the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Charles Dunlap, professor of the practice of law and executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke Law
  • Claire Finkelstein, Algernon Biddle Professor of Law, professor of philosophy, and director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Oren Gross, Irving Younger Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School
  • Noreen Herzfeld, professor of theology and computer science at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University
  • Brian David Johnson, professor of practice at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and a futurist and Fellow at Frost & Sullivan
  • Richard Jordan, assistant professor of political science at Baylor University
  • Elsa Kania, adjunct senior fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  • Michael Klare, Five College professor emeritus of peace and world security studies, and director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS) at Hampshire College
  • Patrick McDaniel, William L. Weiss Professor of Information and Communications Technology at Penn State
  • Amy Pritchett, head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State
  • Matthias Scheutz, professor of computer science, adjunct professor of psychology, and Bernard M. Gordon Senior Faculty Fellow at Tufts University
  • Alan Wagner, Hartz Family Career Development Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State


  • Ben Johnson, assistant professor of law at Penn State Law
  • Ben Jones, assistant director of The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State
  • Tiyanjana Maluwa, H. Laddie Montague Chair in Law and professor of law and international affairs at Penn State
  • Anne McKenna, distinguished scholar of cyberlaw and policy at Penn State Dickinson Law and professor of practice at the Institute for Cyberscience at Penn State
  • Sarah Rajtmajer, assistant professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State

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