Emerging military and security technologies are bringing forth new challenges.
Advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics continue to push the boundaries of autonomy. Practically, this means that the extent of human-decision making and control of weapons systems is being brought into question. Lethal autonomous weapons systems, in particular, have been identified as deeply problematic from a moral, ethical and legal perspective. Autonomous weapons are weapons systems that can select and engage targets with little human intervention. Autonomous weapons systems have been called the “third revolution in warfare after gunpowder and nuclear arms” by leading scientists and tech developers. Without regulation, the risks posed by these weapons will only increase.
Project Ploughshares has joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a growing coalition of 142 organizations in 62 countries working to pre-emptively ban weapons systems that, once activated, would select and attack targets without human intervention.
While countries have been discussing this issue since 2014 at the United Nations, the process has been slow and technological advancements are outpacing regulation. This points to the clear need for greater dialogue nationally and internationally.
What are autonomous weapons systems (aka "killer robots")? Why are they problematic? Click on the image below to find out.
Recent Posts on Emerging Technologies
Unacceptable risk and autonomous weaponsNovember 29, 2021
At first glance, it might appear that seven years of international discussions on autonomous weapons have had few concrete results. At the time of writing, the third session of the 2021 United Nations (UN) Group of Governmental Experts on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) was scheduled to take place in early December in Geneva, Switzerland. The most that is expected from these meetings is a proposal to continue talking.
Crafting Canada’s Techno-Diplomatic StrategyNovember 8, 2021
Canada is in dire need of a solid diplomatic strategy that responds to the growing nexus between emerging technologies and national security. Newly-appointed foreign minister Mélanie Joly would do well to prioritize the development of robust and forward-looking policies to tackle tech-related security concerns, as is increasingly the case in the foreign ministries of a number of countries—including key Canadian allies as well as would-be adversaries.
Why AI-controlled weapons are a bad ideaSeptember 15, 2021
I think I finally REALLY get it. I’ve been reading analysis of autonomous weapons and AI-powered tech by Ploughshares Senior Researcher Branka Marijan for years, but I’ve never completely understood why so many individuals and organizations and even countries are totally against weapons that can target and kill humans without humans as part of the decision-making process.
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