United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)

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UNODA supports the development and implementation of practical disarmament measures after a conflict, such as disarming and demobilizing former combatants and helping them to reintegrate in civil society.

Description of Activities on AI

Project 1: CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Emerging Technologies in the Area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

The Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA) supports the work of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Group of Governmental Experts on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). The Group has affirmed eleven guiding principles covering, inter alia, the applicability of international humanitarian law, the retention of human responsibility and that human-machine interaction should ensure LAWS are used in compliance with international law. The current objective of the group is to produce consensus recommendations to the Sixth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, in relation to the clarification, consideration and development of aspects of the normative and operational framework on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Project 2: Report to the Secretary-General on Developments in Science and Technology and their Potential Impact on International Security and Disarmament Efforts

As requested by United Nations General Assembly resolution 75/38, the United Nations Secretary-General will report to the 76th session of the General Assembly on current developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament efforts, including on developments related to AI. This report has been issued as A/76/182.

Project 3: Responsible Innovation for a Secure Environment – Asia and the Pacific

ODA, together with partners from the University of Tokyo, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Montreal AI Ethics Institute, the Responsible AI Institute, ASEAN Foundation, SAP, Vodafone and others, has been carrying out a series of interactive workshops and dialogues with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students and young innovators from across Asia and the Pacific. It responds to action 28 of the Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda.

These workshops introduce participants not-traditionally exposed to disarmament issues to the key concepts in responsible innovation of science and technology. The project seeks to fill a gap in existing efforts to promote responsible development and use of AI, the majority of which pay little to no attention to the impact of AI research and innovation on the military sphere, or international peace and security. Its interactive and partially student guided format encourages participants to identify themselves the risks generated by the technology they develop. The scenario, role-play and pitch based exercises have proven to be successful in making students interested in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation issues but also in generating useful insights on peace and security risks associated with AI. It also allows for students to recognize more granular issues, like bias and inclusion, and consider their implications for peace, security, and disarmament.

Project 4: Advocacy on Autonomous Weapons

The Secretary-General, the High Representative and Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and other ODA officials have sought to raise awareness of the possible implications of autonomous weapons and the weaponization of artificial intelligence.

Related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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