While robots and automata have traditionally belonged to the realm of fiction, they are rapidly becoming an issue for the disarmament community. On the one hand, some experts believe that robots programmed to adhere to international humanitarian law (IHL) will be able to act more ethically than human beings on the battlefield. On the other hand, several commentators have disputed this claim, contending that the use of robots – or autonomous weapon systems (AWSs) – will lower the threshold to use violent force, and that such machines will be unable to discriminate between soldiers and civilians. Accordingly, this (essentially utilitarian) discussion of the consequences the deployment of AWSs is likely to have, remains locked in a word-against-word argument. Rather than focusing on the direct humanitarian effects of AWSs, people calling for a pre-emptive ban should point to the issue of moral agency, and the relationship between AWSs and human beings. Machine Autonomy and the Uncanny is an attempt at separating the question of harm from questions pertaining to the harmer . The use of AWSs poses grave problems for the doctrine of the moral equality of soldiers, for the dignity of all parties involved, and for both legal and moral responsibility.