UNODA discusses challenge of emerging technologies

Members of the U.N. Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters must develop new ways of thinking about the disarmament and verification of emerging technologies, the U.N. Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) recently said.

Angela Kane, the high representative for disarmament affairs for UNODA, made the remarks during the 62nd session of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. She said the latest session of the advisory board provided an opportunity to discuss two pressing disarmament matters: verification with a special focus on new technologies and the disarmament and security implications of emerging technologies, according to a UNODA press release.

Kane said the advisory board can build on previous exchanges by updating existing precedents for warhead dismantlement verification.

"We all know there still remain many challenges ahead when it comes to warhead dismantlement," Kane said. "Such challenges often call for new ideas and ways of thinking. I am convinced that all of you are more than well-prepared to meet that challenge."

Kane said that the security implications of emerging technologies like autonomous weapon systems represent a complex and controversial issue that must be addressed urgently.

"It is undeniable that warfare is becoming increasing automated," Kane said. "Many governments are actively pursuing weapon systems that operate with increasing autonomy. Despite uncertainty over the pace of technical developments, there are serious concerns that must be addressed pertaining to the possible employment of weapon systems that have the capability of selecting and attacking targets without human intervention."

Kane concluded by wishing the advisory board the best of luck in its deliberations in the days and months ahead.