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Forging a vision for security in a new age of disruptive techno-politics

21 September 2018

Experts from around the country and the world have gathered at University of Waikato to examine technologies that will challenge the very core of the country’s defence and security systems.

The Waikato Dialogue this week scrutinised developments in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics. They now play a ubiquitous role in everyday life, including in the manufacture of goods and services, GPS systems, user-interface software, and in self-driving vehicles. Internationally, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), such as drones, are being used extensively in counter terrorist operations, while the advent of Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWs) raise ethical questions about the use (and misuse) of military power.

Keynote speaker Dr Brian Young joined the Defence Technology Agency as Director in 2012, after two and half years as Director for Research at the University of Otago. He discussed how technology has brought New Zealand much closer to the world. “From a security perspective geography is now much less of a factor.”

From the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, William Carter’s expert area is international cyber and technology policy issues, including artificial intelligence, cyber conflict and deterrence, surveillance and privacy. He told the symposium that it is now important to develop international partnerships to establish the rules and create treaties regarding AI. “We could then use these relationships to share and cross-check AI developments in order to instill confidence and trust in the technology.”

Often the lessons of history are ignored or sidelined when critical decisions are being made about war, peace and international security. Dr Joe Burton considered whether that appears to be true in how emerging technologies are being used and incorporated into national security strategies.

Dr Reuben Steff looked at how Artificial Intelligence is going to have immense implications for New Zealand’s national security in Swarms, Artificial Intelligence and New Zealand’s Security. While Dr Dan Weijers is looking at how to deal with the public rejection of new potentially life-saving technologies in Disgusting, Grotesque and Offensive.

Organisers aim to make the Waikato Dialogue an annual event, which will be a crucial focus for security in the Australasian region. It has been hosted by The New Zealand Institute for Security and Crime Science and the University of Waikato Political Science & Public Policy Programme.

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