Robot killer, everything that hides in the first stop

Robot killer, everything that hides in the first stop

Robot killer

Moscow and Tehran deny this, but the evidence strongly indicates that Iranian kamikaze drones model Shahed 136 have violently struck cities in Ukraine. These autonomous circulating ammunition weapons are not particularly refined, however they are cheap, can be deployed in swarms and are extremely efficient. At least if by "efficient" we mean "deadly and destructive". Between cyber attacks and so-called killer robots, the invasion of Ukraine is offering us an insight into how the wars of the future will be fought.

Organizations and activists have been denouncing for years how harmful these tools can be for civilians, how much their entire structure is prone to violate the lives of the innocent and to cloud the chain of responsibility, however in the institutional fora the debate in merit ran aground quickly. On 7 October, however, something changed, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in which it asks its advisory committee to prepare a study through which to assess the implications that the use of new military technologies can have on human rights. humans. A decidedly uphill challenge, especially considering that the greatest powers in the world are aiming at full blast on the military-oriented AIs.

The greats who play at war

Identified by the United Nations Organization as "conventional weapons", autonomous weapons are now a central subject in the speeches made on the occasion of the various conventions on weapons conventional (CCW), meetings that aim to establish whether or not these weapons devices are compatible with international humanitarian law. On paper it would appear to be a dispute with an immediate solution, if only because UN diplomats have been very explicit in taking a harshly critical stance towards autonomous weapons systems. "Machines with the power and the ability to reap lives without human involvement are politically unacceptable, morally repugnant and should be prohibited by international law," Michael Møller, director general of the United Nations Office in Geneva, said in 2019. >
Despite similar premises, the various governments are struggling to find an agreement that satisfies all the parties, they are stuck in a stalemate made up of war concerns and economic interests that ends up bogging down any possibility of dialogue. Considering how it is handling the invasion against Kyiv, it is not surprising that Moscow is at the top of the list of those who have pledged to derail all sorts of agreements on any limitations to be imposed on killer robots, yet the United States has also publicly argued that the development of autonomous weapons is a "moral imperative", while the European Commission is preparing to invest in the automation of future battlefields. In fact, the representatives of the permanent member countries of the UN Security Council are all hostile to the establishment of strict impositions that limit the use of such tools, at most the possibility that each nation formalizes a self-regulation of dubious efficacy is raised. The 83 states that say they are ready to embrace a draconian moratorium are almost all emerging countries, lacking the means and resources to participate in this latest arms race.

The possible turning point

Ousman Noor, director of government relations for the Stop Killer Robot campaign, described to the position taken by the UN Human Rights Council as "a positive step forward in international efforts to promote safeguards against legal, ethical and of security represented by autonomous weapons systems ". An image, that of the step forward, also cited by other NGOs.

Although progress has undeniably been recorded, this success may appear tiny and ephemeral, especially considering that it has cost organizations and activists years of hard work and sacrifices. The report will in fact be delivered only on the occasion of the sixtieth session of the United Nations, probably in September 2025. Furthermore, the risk that member countries prefer to turn their backs on the report without even discussing its contents cannot be excluded, a distortion of the UN system that we have recently experienced in relation to the results of the investigations into human rights violations that took place in Xinjiang.

“Unfortunately we have to anticipate such an eventuality - confirms to Matthias Spielkamp, ​​executive director of AlgorithmWatch -. This is a concern that in general has to do with the limited powers of the UN or, better said, with the limited willingness of states to commit themselves to respecting international law. It is very frustrating for those who want to help develop positive change ”. However, a spark of leathery dedication to the cause remains alive. "An absentee world government is what passes the convent, but there is always room for maneuver to change and if the United States and others begin to recognize the value of the United Nations instead of ridiculing its role - which happened during the last administration. - we have a good chance of achieving such a change, ”concludes Spielkamp. This is echoed by Maurizio Simoncelli, vice president of the Institute of International Research and Disarmament Archive, who does not fail to point out that the UN is "the only international organization of this kind", an asset to be protected and refined to avoid a situation of chaos in which “the strongest makes all decisions”.

A light at the end of the tunnel

There are many obstacles to overcome, but there are nevertheless positive signs Friday 11 October 70 nations have, for example, touched on the topic of autonomous weapons systems through a joint statement delivered on the occasion of the General Assembly of the United Nations, a more unique than rare precedent to which Italy has officially joined. The signatories ask the UN to recognize the inherent danger in autonomous weapons and to acknowledge that it is necessary that potentially lethal decisions are always and in any case taken by human beings, therefore they emphasize the need to find soon an international consensus useful for setting rules and limits in the use of the tools analyzed.

It is also worth noting that the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council hides a surprisingly positive ambiguity within it. As it is formulated, the commitment made by the institution should not only take into consideration the lethal autonomous weapons, but also all those new generation "military technologies" that are capable of violating human rights. Virtually all the tools that are used today in the police dynamics of surveillance and control could also fall into this hat.

Even without having to go down between the digital trenches of the battlefields, we are in fact constantly provided with feedback on how roughly mastered algorithms are likely to manifest an enormous social impact on access to work, education, services . When it comes to the terrible and damaging consequences that have developed around the tools of biometric recognition or predictive police, the situation is further aggravated. It seems unlikely that the report will be used by different nations to impose a stricter control over the rules of surveillance, however it is certain that any criticisms contained within the document could be challenged by non-governmental organizations, which look with cautious positivity at the results. of their labors.

"We need people and tech companies to push those in government to take concrete action, which is far from simple considering the challenges that individuals have to overcome every day, but if we do not take an active position on these issues we risk slipping into a new and more harmful relationship with emerging technologies ", says Richard Moyes, CEO of Article 36, a non-profit organization entirely dedicated to limiting the damage caused by weapons to companies . According to the data reported by the International Research Institute Disarmament Archive, the numbers to leverage the situation are all there: "Some surveys report that up to 70% of people say they are perplexed [about the application of artificial intelligence to autonomous weapons, ed. ] ", Remarks Simoncelli, not failing to underline in turn how much biometric recognition systems are now as prone to error.

Powered by Blogger.