GENEVA / LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS

10-Nov-2017 00:01:24
New and evolving artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are challenging existing international norms of what is acceptable in warfare, according to the Chair of a United Nations (UN) group of experts on the issue. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS
TRT: 1:24
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 10 NOVEMBER 2017 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Amandeep Singh Gill, Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems:
“What is of concern is the distance between the human and the machine, the increasing distance, and whether that has qualitatively changed with the new technologies or not, and whether that qualitative change requires us to have a different approach to military systems with autonomy.”
4. Close up, journalist
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Amandeep Singh Gill, Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems:
“It would be very easy to just legislate a ban: whatever it is, let’s just ban it. But I think that we, as responsible actors in the international domain, we have to be clear about what it is that we are legislating on.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Amandeep Singh Gill, Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems:
“It’s very important to build a common understanding of the challenge posed by lethal autonomy. It is very important to have a shared understanding of what different terms imply in different capitals.”
8. Close up Journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Amandeep Singh Gill, Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems:
“We are not there at a point where we can call our work negotiations."
10. Various shots, journalists
STORYLINE
New and evolving artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are challenging existing international norms of what is acceptable in warfare, according to the Chair of a United Nations (UN) group of experts on the issue.

Speaking today (10 Nov) to reporters in Geneva, the expert, Ambassador Amandeep Gill of India said, “What is of concern is the distance between the human and the machine, the increasing distance, and whether that has qualitatively changed with the new technologies or not, and whether that qualitative change requires us to have a different approach to military systems with autonomy.”

He said durable norms that take into account both national regulations and industry self-regulation, in addition to existing international humanitarian law may be needed.

Ambassador Gill will kick off the first-ever formal inter-governmental discussion on what machine autonomy means for the laws of armed conflict and the future of international security on Monday 13 November, at the United Nations in Geneva. He is the Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS), on behalf of 125 States party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), also known as the “Inhumane Weapons Convention.”

Asked if he aimed to work towards a ban on the use of weapons systems that require no human intervention, Ambassador Gill emphasized that characterizing the challenge was a first step needed to develop a common understanding of the complex issues at stake. These include legal and ethical concerns as well as military and technological considerations.

Gill said, “It would be very easy to just legislate a ban: whatever it is, let’s just ban it.” He added, “But I think that we, as responsible actors in the international domain, we have to be clear about what it is that we are legislating on.”

The objective of the upcoming discussions, from his perspective, is to arrive at a better characterization of the questions posed by these technological developments, and to seek a new mandate to continue work on the subject within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Among the challenges: a blurring of the lines between civilian and military objects in an era when an algorithm can simply be “slapped onto existing products” and change their fundamental nature.

The basic question that States will be grappling with in Geneva next week is how to deliver on the promise of AI while also protecting the hard-won tenets of international humanitarian law and respecting the legitimate security and commercial interests of States and industry. “We are not there at a point where we can call our work negotiations,” Ambassador Gill warned.

He stressed, “It’s very important to build a common understanding of the challenge posed by lethal autonomy. It is very important to have a common understanding of what different terms imply in different capitals.”

The discussions will take place as some technology leaders are increasingly worried about autonomous systems taking life-and-death decisions without “meaningful human supervision or control.”

Elon Musk and over 100 others recently signed a letter warning that the weaponization of AI-based technologies risks opening a "Pandora's box", calling on the UN to “find a way to protect us from all these dangers.”
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