Indonesia Seeks Negotiations on Binding Rules on AI-Driven Weapons
Jakarta, Indonesianpost.com – A senior diplomat recently hinted at Indonesia’s plans to push countries into negotiating legally binding international rules on autonomous weapons.
Indonesia is slated to preside over the Conference on Disarmament –also known as CD– in Geneva in February. This multilateral forum brings together 65 nations, including the US and China, to discuss arms control and disarmament agreements.
According to the Indonesian permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) office in Geneva Febrian Ruddyard, the world is still far from reaching a legally binding instrument on weapons powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Even so, Indonesia plans to get the conversation on such rules going when it leads the upcoming disarmament forum.
“Countries are beginning to realize that the AI use on military arms and equipment can have a huge impact, and so we need to regulate its use. The most effective way to do so would be to create a legally binding instrument. But I think it is still a long time before we can actually reach that [legally binding instrument],” Febrian told a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Febrian said that countries at the CD forum were still “brainstorming” ideas on the binding rules for autonomous weapon systems. This includes to what extent these rules would regulate the autonomous weapons use, and what sort of instrument it would be. Discussions also need to take into account the participating nations’ views –whether they support or oppose the idea– as the instrument would call for a consensus.
“The more a country is able to use AI-powered weapons, the more likely they will be seen as a threat by other countries who do not have access to such technology,” Febrian said.
“It all starts with negotiations. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. … This is something that we are trying to push during our presidency [at the CD]. So the brainstorming process can mature fast, and countries can get ready to start the negotiations regarding the military applications of AI,” he told reporters.
New York-based non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch reported that an increasing number of countries were already investing heavily in the military applications of AI to develop autonomous weapons systems. These countries include the US, China, Russia, and India, among others. Autonomous weapons systems are already being used in Ukraine and other conflicts.