Monthly Archives: January 2015

Video Contest Launched

**CONTEST IS NOW INTERNATIONAL – STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD WELCOME TO ENTER**

Mines Action Canada is launching a Keep Killer Robots Fiction video contest for students.  We are inviting students from  across Canada around the world to make and submit 2 minute video on the theme of “Keep Killer Robots Fiction“.

What is the purpose?  The purpose of this competition is to find new, compelling and provocative ways to start a conversation in the public about autonomous weapons systems.  Autonomous weapons systems or killer robots are future weapons that can select and fire upon targets without human control.

Killer robots have been a staple trope in fiction and entertainment for years.  Over the past decade, the possibility of fully autonomous weapons is becoming closer to reality. Recently we have seen a dramatic rise in unmanned weapons that has changed the face of warfare. New technology is permitting serious efforts to develop fully autonomous weapons. These robotic weapons would be able to choose and fire on targets on their own, without any human intervention. This capability would pose a fundamental challenge to the protection of civilians and to compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law.  For clarity it is necessary to note that fully autonomous weapons are not drones; drones have a human pilot in a remote location.  Fully autonomous weapons are a large step beyond armed drones.  You can learn more about autonomous weapons systems online at: www.stopkillerrobots.ca.

Your submission should illustrate one of the major problems with autonomous weapons systems or ask a question about handing over life and death decisions to a machine:

  • A lack of accountability – who is responsible if an autonomous weapon kills the wrong person or malfunctions?
  • Inability to distinguish between legitimate and legal targets and others – human soldiers must be able to tell the difference between soldiers and civilians, could a robot ever make that distinction?
  • The moral issues surrounding outsourcing life and death decisions to machines – is it right to allow machines to choose to end a human life?

Please don’t limit yourself to these example questions about autonomous weapons, they are intended to inspire you to create some questions of your own to guide your project.

What do I win?  The winner or winning team will receive a Go-Pro HERO 4 Silver camera and a 3-way mount.

Who can participate?  Submissions will be accepted from any contestant between the ages of 18 and 30 who is currently enrolled in post-secondary education.

How do I enter the competition?  Submitting your entry to the video contest is easy! Simply complete these three steps by March 15, 2015:

  1. Visit the contest entry form on our website, and fill in all of the required information.
  2. Upload your video to Vimeo and specify the location (URL) on the entry form. Memberships to Vimeo are free.
  3. Submit your online entry form to the Mines Action Canada team.

The Contest Rules and other information can be found in the Video Contest Announcement.  Please read the announcement carefully to ensure that your project is eligible for consideration by our panel of expert judges.  The contest entry form is available online at: http://goo.gl/forms/0VOGD6mgTp.

Disarmament Successes in 2014

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots had a pretty good 2014 but many people view 2014 as a terrible year full of death, war and disease around the world. Fortunately, things are not as bleak as the news makes them look. The humanitarian disarmament world has seen a lot of successes this year and each of these successes is a win for humanity.  So let’s recap the good news stories of 2014 in the humanitarian disarmament world.

As we get started on 2015, it’s time to pick our favourite humanitarian disarmament success story of 2014.

To stay up to date on all sorts of humanitarian disarmament developments, join the Mines Action Canada mailing list.  Please share this poll with your family, friends and networks to spread the good news!