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May 3, 2017—Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Part 2: Military Applications

May 3, 2017—Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Part 2: Military Applications

In the spring of 2014, the Senate Liberals opened our Caucus doors to Canadians. Through our Open Caucus initiative we are learning, discussing and debating issues of national importance. This effort is hosted by the Senate Liberal Caucus but is intended to be non-partisan.

On May 3rd, we invited you to join us in a discussion on the military applications of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Military technological developments present a number of benefits and challenges. New classes of robotics can be cost effective, reduce payloads, and minimize harm to soldiers. From exoskeletons to human operated unmanned vehicles current advancements require that humans are kept ‘in the loop’ with regards to decision making. However, at least six countries are working on the full integration of AI into military technologies, thereby potentially increasing the use of autonomous weapons in the battlefield. Although an open letter arguing for a ban on fully-autonomous weapons has been signed by 3105 Robotics and AI researchers there has been no international agreement regarding what level of human control there should be on the battlefield.  To address this important topic, we discussed the range of legal, ethical, and strategic challenges that are posed by technological advancements as they apply to military operations.

Witnesses included:

  • Jeremy Littlewood: Assistant Professor, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs
  • Ian Glenn: CEO/CTO, ING Robotic Aviation Inc.
  • Jason Millar: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Ottawa


This meeting took place:

Wednesday May 3rd, 2017
9:15 am – 11:15 am
Room 160S, Centre Block

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