From the invention of the machine-gun, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, to the use of armed drones, technological advances in war craft have transformed geopolitical rivalries and the great power relations in international affairs. Today, experts believe we are sitting on the cusp of new and revolutionary forms of conflict and weaponry that shift our focus from the battlefields and borders of states, upwards to space, and downwards into the data of digital and quantum worlds. As humans become more reliant on semi-autonomous or autonomous systems, will war become easier or more difficult to control and prevent? How will war transform, and will it remain an extension of ‘politics by other means?’ As we consider what these developments will mean for the prospects of global peace and stability, this Global Insights panel anticipates and debates ‘The Future of Peace and Conflict: Nuclear Arms, Space and Robotics’.
Melissa Hanham is the Deputy Director of Open Nuclear Network (ONN), a programme of One Earth Future, and also directs it’s Datayo Project. She is an expert on weapons of mass destruction, which include nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery devices such as missiles and bombers.
Audrey Kurth Cronin is an academic, practitioner, and award-winning author. Currently she is Director, Center for Security, Innovation and New Technology & Professor, American University. Her most recent book Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists, published by Oxford University Press, was a Foreign Affairs “Best of 2019” and shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize and the Airey Neave Prize.
Branka Marijan is a Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares. At Ploughshares, Branka leads the research on the military and security implications of emerging technologies.
Jessica West is a Senior Researcher at the Canadian peace research institute Project Ploughshares and Managing Editor of the international Space Security Index project. Her research and policy work is focused on technology, security, and governance. Jessica interacts regularly with key United Nations bodies tasked with space security and space safety issues. Currently she is developing a map of the existing normative landscape that shapes outer space activities as a basis for elaborating best practices related to security.
Moderated by Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director, Balsillie School of International Affairs