Joanna Wilson


Room 304, 10 The Square, Glasgow, G12 8QQ

PhD Topic

'(L)AWS, Laws and The Ethics of Autonomy: Questioning the Morality of the ‘Killer Robot’'


Professor Robin Geiss
Professor Christian Tams


MA Hons (WIYA) International Relations and Spanish – University of St Andrews – 2009-2014
(With Integrated Year Abroad – English Teacher, IES Villajunco, Santander)

LLM International Law and Security – University of Glasgow – 2014-2015

Research Assistant, School of Law and Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow – 2015-Present

Research Assistant – Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London – 2016

Research Associate in International Law, Conflict and Security – 2017-Present 


Research Interests

International Law and Security; International Humanitarian Law (Law of Armed Conflict); International Relations Theory; Peace and Conflict Studies; Rule of Law 

Current Research Project Summary

Reiterating, and attempting to answer, a question posed by the ICRC: is it morally acceptable to vest a piece of machinery with the power to make life and death ‘decisions’?

  • Is the legal treatment of robot warfare a morally viable activity?
  • Is regulation, however stringent, in itself a form of legitimisation or even condonation?
  • What constitutes morality and is there a place for it in International Law, International Humanitarian Law in particular?

Convener of International Law Working Group, 2016-Present

LinkedIn profile:


Conference Papers

Security and Justice in the Age of Killer Robots, Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s University Belfast (June 2018)

BISA 2018, (Bath, June 2018)

Regulation of Artificial Intelligence Workshop, Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy (Mar 2018)

Robophilosophy 2018/TRANSOR 2018 (Vienna, Feb 2018)

Artificial Ethics: Moral and Practical Challenges, University of Southampton Department of Philosophy (Dec 2017)

BISA-ILAW Workshop, University of Edinburgh (Sep 2017)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies Conference (Liverpool, July 2017)

North East PGR Law Forum (Newcastle, June 2017) 



2009/10 – Colmenaros Prize, University of St Andrews

2011/2 – Stevenson Scholarship, University of Glasgow

2012/3 – University of St Andrews Deans List Award for Academic Achievement

2013/4 – University of St Andrews Deans List Award for Academic Achievement

2014/5 – Award for Most Outstanding Student, LLM International Law and Security, University of Glasgow

2015 – Wards Trust Research Assistant, Adam Smith Business School , University of Glasgow