Blurring the lines: Virtual, mixed reality and the future of warfare

Branka Marijan Featured, News

In early October 2017, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and colleague Rachel Franklin sat in offices in California wearing headsets while they toured a video by National Public Radio of hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico using virtual-reality application Spaces. In a live stream, cartoon characters Zuckerberg and Franklin could be seen touring the footage of the island. The broadcast created a large backlash. …

EVENT: Make Cool Tech Stuff (Not Weapons)

Ploughshares Featured, News

“We should not lose sight of the fact that, unlike other potential manifestations of AI which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability. The development of lethal autonomous weapons systems is …

Are emerging technologies making us safer?

Branka Marijan Featured 0 Comments

Technology companies, governments, and militaries all want the rest of us to trust new systems and emerging technologies that employ artificial intelligence to provide services, assist in policing, and even wage war more effectively and efficiently. They want us to feel “safer” with emerging technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). Do we? Should we? Published in The Ploughshares Monitor Volume 39 Issue 3 …

Why the “tech for good” conversation needs to be more inclusive and transparent

Branka Marijan Featured, News

Over the last year, the focus on “tech for good” and ethical artificial intelligence has become more prominent in media discussion, as well as within tech circles in Canada and globally. In the last few months, several workshops and conferences have raised this issue. Because U.S. policies and restrictions on travel are denying access to some international participants, conference and …

Seven key insights from RightsCon 2018

Branka Marijan Featured 0 Comments

And the inevitable questions RightsCon, one of the world’s largest annual meetings of digital rights activists, was held in Toronto from May 16-18. Access Now, which organized the conference, decided to hold this year’s event in Toronto instead of San Francisco, partly because of visa restrictions in the United States, but also because of Toronto’s growing reputation as a tech …

Human-less or human more?

Tasneem Jamal Featured 0 Comments

Recently, Lockheed Martin, the U.S. aerospace and defence company, released a promotional video of its work on autonomous systems. The main message: “The future of autonomy isn’t human-less. It’s human more.” Published in The Ploughshares Monitor Volume 39 Issue 2 Summer 2018 by Branka Marijan Doublethink lives on This formulation brings to mind George Orwell. In his novel 1984, Newspeak, the language …

The ‘Black Mirror’ spectre and autonomous weapons

Branka Marijan Featured, News

Thinking about the future of warfare through science fiction Laughter doesn’t often fill the meeting room at the United Nations. When it does, it’s a refreshing reminder that country delegates are ordinary citizens, just like the rest of us. While they have been given a great privilege and responsibility to represent their nations’ interests and serve the planet, they also …

Unintended consequences and malicious uses of AI

Branka Marijan Featured, News

News stories on artificial intelligence (AI) herald advancements in medicine, applaud the ability of programs to defeat human players in complex games, and anticipate the ability to read our minds. While it is important to highlight these positive contributions, we must stay alert to the full range of effects of AI on our society and the world—the unintended as well …

Autonomous Kalashnikovs?

Branka Marijan Featured 0 Comments

The Russian manufacturer is developing weapons that can identify targets using artificial intelligence Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov is best known as the producer of the infamous assault rifle, the AK-47. The AK-47, as journalist C.J. Chivers (2010) notes, has “fundamentally rewritten the rules of modern warfare,” mainly due to the “ease of use, cost, reliability, and readily available parts and …

On Elon Musk, AI and killer robots

Branka Marijan Featured, News

Last month, 116 robotics experts, including Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, signed a letter calling on the United Nations to take action on lethal autonomous weapons systems or killer robots. Musk has become the chief figure warning about the military uses of artificial intelligence (AI), and has brought increased media attention to the issue. Recently, Musk pointed to remarks …