Customers or allies? The dilemma of Canada’s AFCCL

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In late 2017, the government of Canada added Ukraine to the Automatic Firearm Country Control List (AFCCL) of 40 states to which Canadian weapons producers can legally export automatic firearms. This decision was made in the fourth year of an increasingly entrenched conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region involving separatist forces, Russian forces posing as irregulars, and Ukrainian government forces, which, …

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 …

Should you worry about Killer Robots?

Branka Marijan Featured, News

Last week, the Group of Governmental Experts met at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva, Switzerland. Many countries, including Canada, provided statements on autonomous weapons, advancing discussions that started 4 years ago. Project Ploughshares was one of the several civil society organizations observing the meetings. In a surprising turn of events, China stated that it …

Project Ploughshares: Our 2018 Plan

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Last year was remarkably active for virtually all Project Ploughshares program areas—and 2018 is turning out to be at least as busy. From unscrupulous arms transfers that fuel human rights violations to troubling forced migration patterns that continue to test the international community’s ability to respond, from efforts to proactively regulate the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems to …

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 …

We cannot and do not support Bill C-47 in its current form

Cesar Jaramillo Featured 0 Comments

Remarks to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development— November 2, 2017 By Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshares Good afternoon. My name is Cesar Jaramillo and I am the executive director of Project Ploughshares. Thank you very much for the kind invitation to address this Committee. For decades, efforts to better regulate illicit or …

The case for the Petrov rule

Branka Marijan Featured 0 Comments

On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov, a 44-year-old lieutenant-colonel in the Soviet Air Defence Forces, made a critical decision (Chan 2017). Petrov was on duty at Serpukhov-15, a control centre outside Moscow that monitored the Soviet Union’s Oko early-warning satellite system, which identified ballistic missile launches, mainly by the United States. The Soviet Union/Russia used these satellites until 2015. Petrov …

Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade

Tasneem Jamal News

Free public film screening, followed by a Q&A with arms trade expert and author Andrew Feinstein and the Executive Director of Project Ploughshares Cesar Jaramillo. Wednesday, November 1, 2017  7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Auditorium, Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb St. Waterloo Limited seating. To RSVP and for more information, visit BSIA: www.balsillieschool.ca Hosted by the Balsillie School of …

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 …