Canada’s reluctant participation in peacekeeping in Mali: What it reveals

Branka Marijan Featured, News

When Canada announced that it would not be extending its commitment to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali beyond one year, few were surprised. But many are perplexed that Canada is reportedly unwilling to consider a UN request to extend its mission until a replacement Romanian contingent arrives in October, a mere three-months extension. On April 5, a House …

Where does the world stand on killer robots? The view from recent UN meetings on autonomous weapons

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, Featured, News

From March 25 to 29, the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons met at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, Switzerland.

Civil society under surveillance

Branka Marijan 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 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.”

Canada’s future role in UN peace operations

Branka Marijan Africa, Armed Conflicts, Conventional Weapons, Defence & Human Security, Emerging Technologies, Featured, News

It has been almost three decades since Canada was among the leading contributors of troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions. In late 2017, the government announced Canada’s return to peace operations and, in March 2018, Canada deployed an Air Task Force to the UN mission in Mali. With the one-year period allotted for the Canadian mission coming to an end …

The new disarmament advocates?

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, News

Over the past year, tech-worker movements have illustrated the rising awareness of this group of their role—for good and ill—in technology’s impact on society. Just look at the employees’ protest against Google’s involvement in the U.S. Pentagon’s Project Maven. Project Maven, also known as Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, launched in April 2017 to improve the ability of the U.S. Department …

Balancing individual rights and national security

Branka Marijan Featured, News

In his recent remarks at the Economic Club of Canada, Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) director David Vigneault indicated that new national security threats are keeping the country’s spies awake at night. While Vigneault acknowledged that terrorism is still a concern, he said that “foreign interference and espionage” are the “greatest threat to our prosperity and national interest.” Vigneault characterized …

Social media and conflict

Branka Marijan Featured Leave a Comment

Social media has a major impact on how we communicate, interact, and understand the world. It is now intricately linked with global, national, and local politics. We take this for granted. But we are now coming to understand that social media is used in particular ways in societies experiencing ongoing violent conflict or emerging from a period of war. For …

The AI arms race: The Cold War mindset returns

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Featured Leave a Comment

Concerns about an artificial-intelligence (AI) arms race between advanced militaries have been raised by many experts and analysts, including SpaceX founder Elon Musk and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Scientists and engineers are also becoming increasingly vocal in discussions on the weaponization of AI, urging governments to develop regulations to prohibit certain applications of AI in weapons technology. But they …

Blurring the lines: Virtual, mixed reality and the future of warfare

Branka Marijan Armed Conflicts, Featured, News

In early October 2017, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and colleague Rachel Franklin sat in offices in California wearing headsets while they toured a video by National Public Radio of hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico using virtual-reality application Spaces. In a live stream, cartoon characters Zuckerberg and Franklin could be seen touring the footage of the island. The broadcast created a large backlash. …