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SIPRI and UNODA launch joint initiative on responsible innovation in AI for peace and security

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This month SIPRI and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) launched a three-year joint initiative on responsible innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) for peace and security. The initiative, which is funded by a decision of the Council of the European Union (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/2269 of 18 November 2022), aims to support greater engagement from the civilian AI community in mitigating the risks that the misuse of civilian AI technology can pose to international peace and security. 

Both SIPRI and UNODA recognize that advances in AI present both opportunities and risks for international peace and security. While peaceful applications of AI can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, AI can also be misused for political disinformation, cyberattacks, terrorism, or military operations. Prior research conducted by the two organizations has established that those working on AI in the civilian sector remain too often unaware of the risks that the misuse of civilian AI technology may pose to international peace and security and unsure about the role they can play in addressing them.

‘This joint SIPRI–UNODA initiative is all about raising awareness and building capacity. It is about providing the civilian AI community with the knowledge and means to take ownership of the problem,’ says Dr Vincent Boulanin, Programme Director responsible for the project at SIPRI. ‘The misuse of civilian technology is not a problem that states can address on their own. AI developers, because they are best placed to understand the technology, can serve as a first line of defence,’ he adds. 

‘To achieve the broadest and most sustainable impact possible, our priority is to build the capacity of the next generation of AI practitioners to carry out responsible AI. To that end, the initiative aims to work closely with educators and AI-focused STEM students but also to work with relevant industry, professional associations and civil society stakeholders from around the globe. In doing so, it will produce a wide range of educational and awareness-raising material— including podcasts, blog posts, a handbook, a report, and practical processes and tools for responsible AI education for peace and security goals. The initiative is committed to building a strong community of interested stakeholders, including through a series of workshops, dialogues and roundtables,’ explains Charles Ovink, responsible for the project at UNODA. 

More information about the joint initiative is available here.