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By late 2020, the United Nations discussions on autonomous weapons, or killer robots, stalled. Some countries were against continuing discussions in the hybrid virtual/in-person format dictated by the ongoing pandemic. There is some indication that efforts to resume CCW talks are ongoing, but so far little information has been made public. While these talks have stalled, the push for greater autonomy and use of AI in weapons has continued. Loitering and collaborative munitions, autonomous tanks, and uncrewed vehicles developments indicate incorporation of more AI tech in weapons systems.

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In 2019, Canada acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty, the first binding international framework to control the trade and transfer of weapons systems. That year, Canada also exported more weapons abroad than at any point in its history. Many of these arms were sold to repressive regimes and fueled some of the world’s most heinous conflicts.

Join Project Ploughshares for a virtual discussion on Canada’s historical role in the arms trade, current trends, and what lies on the path ahead.

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