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 …

Canadians among experts calling for UN action on killer robots

Branka Marijan Featured, News

On August 21, 116 robotics experts from 26 countries, including Canada, signed a letter calling for the United Nations to take action on the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems, commonly known as killer robots. The letter comes at the start of the 2017 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Melbourne, Australia. An open letter signed by more …