How Canada can get up to speed on the ban on autonomous weapons

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured Leave a Comment

Disarmament and arms control have not featured prominently, if at all, in mandate letters to Canada’s foreign ministers in many years. But at the end of 2019, Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne was given a new mandate to “advance international efforts to ban the development and use of fully autonomous weapons systems.”

In a welcome shift, Canada makes banning killer robots a foreign policy priority

Cesar Jaramillo Emerging Technologies Leave a Comment

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction. Enabled by significant advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, fully autonomous weapons systems with the ability to select targets and employ lethal force with no human involvement—also known as killer robots—may soon emerge.

Clearview AI and the public use of facial-recognition technology

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, News

Police forces were not forthcoming about their use of Clearview AI and facial-recognition technology in general, until a February report revealed that Canada was the largest market for Clearview AI technology outside the United States. The technology seems to have spread quietly, sometimes without the knowledge of those in charge.

A leadership role on ethical AI is Canada’s to take or lose

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, News

Canada is certainly capable of promoting global norms, with a federal government commitment to fund AI research, an active AI community, and a rapidly developing tech sector. Expert help is available from leading AI researchers in Canadian universities and industries. Research institutes and civil-society groups also have expertise on various applications of AI.

Canada to support a ban on autonomous weapons 

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, News

The question now is what happens next and how will the mandate be implemented when UN discussions on this issue resume in June. While fully autonomous weapons systems do not yet exist, experts agree that they soon will.

Putting controls on remote warfare to protect civilians

Branka Marijan Current Publication, Emerging Technologies, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor Leave a Comment

Earlier this year, Amnesty International (AI) released a report, The Hidden US War in Somalia: Civilian Casualties from Air Strikes in Lower Shabelle. According to this report, which explored five incidents, at least 14 civilians had been killed by airstrikes from both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones).

3 Key Takeaways from the Innovations Dialogue

Branka Marijan Featured, News

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research Innovations Dialogue held on August 19 at the UN Office in Geneva sought to address  the implications of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain, and the Internet of Things on arms control and disarmament.

More clarity on Canada’s views on military applications of artificial intelligence needed

Branka Marijan Americas, Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, Featured, News

Canada appears to be leading the way in the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) with a number of initiatives and guidelines intended to to ensure that AI applications are based on sound reasoning and common values. However, largely absent in its discussions of strategy and risk are military applications of AI—in particular, the growing autonomy of weapons systems. Canada …

Civil society under surveillance

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Current Publication, Emerging Technologies, Featured Leave a Comment

Many civil society groups and activists—yes, in Canada, as well as in many other countries—have solid grounds for believing that they have been and are still under surveillance—by national security agencies and now, increasingly, by private entities.

The military, AI, and why it’s time to worry

Branka Marijan Americas, Conventional Weapons, Current Publication, Emerging Technologies, Featured Leave a Comment

“We are not talking about walking, talking terminator robots that are about to take over the world; what we are worried about is much more looming: conventional weapons systems with autonomy. They are beginning to sneak in.”