During a week of virtual sessions hosted in September at the Geneva offices of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Canada remained silent. Not once in the last year has Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs focused on autonomous weapons when explaining Canada’s foreign policy priorities.
During several years of discussions on autonomous weapons at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), several arguments against their regulation have surfaced. Some seem intentionally misleading, while others are out of touch with the rapid development of emerging technologies and the current trends in academic research and analysis.
Militaries are doing more research and development of artificial intelligence (AI), and are looking to implement AI systems. In early August of this year, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that later in the month a human fighter pilot would face off against an AI algorithm in virtual combat.
This pandemic has in fact brought into sharper focus the choices that are made about where resources are allocated, which technologies are developed, and for what purposes. These types of choices are and will be particularly important when it comes to applications of AI for national and global security.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The call by some states and civil society for the regulation of autonomous weapons continues. But concern is also being expressed that investment and research in autonomous weapons systems are outpacing regulation. In advance of the August meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), here’s an overview of recent developments. 1. The …
San Francisco became the first city in the United States to ban law-enforcement and government agencies from using facial-recognition technology, which identifies individuals by facial features. Civil liberties advocates hope other cities and countries will soon produce their own versions of the “Stop Secret Surveillance” ordinance.