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Emerging Technologies and the Chemical Weapons Convention: Mobile Data Collection, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

The Hague -

Emerging Technologies and the Chemical Weapons Convention: Mobile Data Collection, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

Monday, 28 November 2016 - The Hague (h: 13.00-15.00)

The world is becoming increasingly connected through devices that collect and transmit data. By the year 2020 an estimated 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. Such devices include wearable monitors; stationary and remote monitoring systems; autonomous mobile systems, mobile phones, and even household appliances. The amount of data being generated is staggering, and necessitates scalable and intelligent analytics tools.

Advances in artificial intelligence and the promise of quantum computing further fuel this data revolution, providing the means that enable use of this immense wealth of information in actionable ways. Increased connectivity between individuals and the ability to passively collect data through a variety of stationary and mobile devices offers new opportunities for those involved in inspections and investigations to collect and analyse data in real time. Furthermore, such tools can help ensure chains of custody, and capture and integrate data streams that allow more holistic and robust analysis and assessment (both in real time and retrospectively).

Mobile and wearable technologies are already being evaluated for their inspection and investigation relevant capabilities, especially in law enforcement applications. Alongside the benefits of data generating emerging technologies, are security concerns including cyber-attacks, proliferation and diffusion of sensitive information, and the potential of terrorist and criminal misuse of the technologies.These are security risks that could have unforeseen economic and social impacts.

This side event, presented by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) at the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, will bring together experts who are evaluating and using such technologies. Applications in safeguards inspections, and crime scene investigation and management will be discussed alongside risks and concerns resulting from an unprecedented capacity to collect and access data.

The event offers a unique opportunity to understand the possibilities and practicalities of adopting the ever more powerful technologies that are evolving around us. The thematic content of this event compliments the finding of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board's Temporary Working Group on Verification and is informative to the Board's upcoming Report on Developments in Science and technology to the Fourth Review Conference.

The event will be opened by Veronika Stromsikova, Director of Strategy and Policy of OPCW and Cindy J. Smith, Director of UNICRI. During the meeting the opening of a UNICRI’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in The Hague will be announced.

"We are striving to advance understanding of the various aspects associated to technological developments, in order to maximize their benefits while minimising their risks. We strongly believe that it is absolutely critical not to suppress innovation. Yet, societies have to be ready for the technological revolution we are witnessing. If not properly designed and managed, advances will make the worse of our interconnectivity that is now key to our prosperity as well as to our fragility.

To this end, UNICRI is in the process of opening its Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. The aim of the Centre is to enhance understanding of the risk-benefit duality of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics through improved coordination, knowledge production and dissemination, awareness-raising and outreach activities. The main outcome of this new initiative will be that all stakeholders, including policy makers and practitioners, will improve their knowledge and understanding of both the risks and benefits of such technologies and that they discussion on these risks and potential solutions in an appropriate and balanced manner.” said the Director of UNICRI, Cindy J. Smith.