Mapping LAWS

Applying knowledge graphs to debates on autonomous weapons

Over Summer 2021/2022 Geoff Ford from Mapping LAWS worked with Daniel Rance from the University of Canterbury's Masters of Applied Data Science (MADS) programme on a summer research project. The project built a protoype pipeline to build knowledge graphs to visualise and analyse actors involved in debates about autonomous weapons.

On February 10, Geoff Ford presented on early findings from this research at the New Zealand Political Studies Association conference in a paper with Jeremy Moses: "Experts, Money and the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Debate: The role of the Center for New American Security".

On February 15, Daniel Rance presented the MADS programme on his involvement in the research, as well as the Data Science skills and knowledge that he applied and learned.

Daniel sent us a reflection on his work on the project:

"It was a great experience to work alongside the Mapping LAWS team as part of my DATA601 summer internship. Seeing practical examples of how the work of data scientists can contribute positively to the modern world was a very motivating experience.

Some of the highlights of my time with the Mapping LAWS team includes introduction to and early understandings of graph theory, experimenting with various information extraction methods, developing and populating a knowledge graph, and querying knowledge graphs to obtain information that otherwise would have been very costly and time consuming to obtain.

The technical advice and experience which I was given access to throughout this project was of the highest quality and was invaluable in terms of my own professional development. I have no doubt that my exposure to this environment has helped to prepare me for my future career as a data scientist.

While not the main subject of my internship, I feel passionately about the ethos of the Mapping LAWS team, and hope that my work may contribute in some way towards their mission of understanding debates about lethal autonomous weapon systems."

- Daniel Rance

Our thanks to Daniel for his work over Summer. More detail to come soon ...