Monthly Archives: January 2015
**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.
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:
- Visit the contest entry form on our website, and fill in all of the required information.
- Upload your video to Vimeo and specify the location (URL) on the entry form. Memberships to Vimeo are free.
- 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.
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.
- The Arms Trade Treaty became international law [entered into force] on Dec. 24.
- After the 3rd Review Conference of the Ottawa Treaty, the U.S. banned landmines everywhere in the world with the exception of the Korean Peninsula.
- Nuclear disarmament started the year with the successful Nayarit Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons and ended it with the Vienna Conference where the Government of Austria issued the Austrian Pledge to to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
- The Toxic Remnants of War Project raised international awareness on the environmental impact of conflict through a new report Pollution Politics and a briefing at the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons.
- Waterloo, Canada’s Clearpath Robotics became the first commercial company in the world to support a ban on autonomous weapons (killer robots).
- At least 157 countries condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria in numerous fora.
- The United Kingdom hosted the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.
- Iraq called for a treaty banning depleted uranium weapons.
- The International Network on Explosive Weapons saw an increase in states speaking out about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas during the Security Council’s Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians and during the United Nations General Assembly First Committee.
As we get started on 2015, it’s time to pick our favourite humanitarian disarmament success story of 2014.