Podcast/Video Interviews by Stephen Ibaraki
A Chat with Denise Garcia: Professor at Northeastern University and a founding faculty member of its Experiential Robotics Institute; former member of the International Panel for the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons; current member of the Research Board of the Toda Peace Institute (Tokyo) and the Institute for Economics and Peace (Sydney), Vice-chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems
This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Denise Garcia.
Denise Garcia is a Professor at Northeastern University and a founding faculty member of its Experiential Robotics Institute.
She is formerly a member of the International Panel for the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons (2017-2022), currently of the Research Board of the Toda Peace Institute (Tokyo) and the Institute for Economics and Peace (Sydney), Vice-chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.
She was the Nobel Peace Institute Fellow in Oslo in 2017. A multiple teaching award-winner, her recent publications appeared in Nature, Foreign Affairs, International Relations, and other top journals.
In two articles at Nature magazine (print and online editions):
Denise Garcia argued that militarizing and weaponizing AI for warfare will not make the world safer. On the contrary, it will create a AI military race diverting intellectual, financial and creative firepower of humanity towards insecurity – this happened before with nuclear weapons. Enhancing AI war-fighting capacity will decrease security in a world where the biggest threats are instability — political, social, economic and planetary.
She also argued that governments should stop spending billions of dollars on weapons and protect citizens from the real threats they face: the catastrophic risks that include averting climate chaos and the breakdown of societal cohesion, and preventing the next pandemic.
AI for Good Summits in Geneva
Garcia participated at the AI for Good Global Summits at the United Nations in Geneva in 2018 and 2019 and will participate in 2023 with her 23-student delegation. Therefore, she could observe first-hand what she calls the AI for Good Global Movement and how it has risen to prominence. This movement seeks ways to use AI for the benefit of humanity, i.e., for the common good in general, and specifically to find ways to use AI for humanitarian purposes, including but not limited to implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improving humanitarian relief.
She became part of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control in 2014 (now the vice-chair), and a member of the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons in 2017, which provided input during the deliberations at the United Nations through the interdisciplinary technical reports the panel published.
IEEE membership and participation
As a founding member of Northeastern University's Institute for Experiential Robotics, she became a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence, and Autonomous Systems (the IEEE Global Initiative), which was created to address the perils of developing AI in the absence of ethical considerations.
She was one of the eight members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Expert Advisory Committee on Autonomous Weapon Systems. The IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology to benefit humanity. Here is the report: https://standards.ieee.org/wp-content/uploads/import/documents/other/ethical-technical-challenges-autonomous-weapons-systems.pdf
She is a research board member of two internationally renowned peace institutes: the International Peace Institute in Australia (who publishes the Global Peace Index) and the Toda Peace Institute in Tokyo.
Denise participated at the IEEE International Conference for Robotics and Automation, in Philadelphia in May 2022. She was a member of the day-long panel on autonomous weapons: ethical and international legal matters.
In her upcoming book:
The AI Military Race
Denise Garcia examines the complexities entailed in creating a global framework to govern the military use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by proposing inclusive and humane ways to forge cooperation. Three novel humanist conceptions are introduced: common good governance, transnational networked cooperation, and humanity's security.
This academic volume is the first to survey the threats to peace in the shifting world order by investigating the current patterns and trends in the global use of, and investment in, militarizing AI and the development of autonomous systems. Garcia weaves in an insider participant-observer focus on the decade-long high-level diplomatic attempts to set limits in autonomy in weapons systems – known as 'killer robots' – and offers a path for the creation of an international treaty on autonomous weapons, and ways to create common good governance for the militarization of AI.
This important study draws on earlier successful cooperation and international law-making in several areas including conventional arms, nuclear and chemical and nuclear weapons bans, the protection of outer space and the ozone, the Arctic, Antarctica, and the oceans. It offers an appraisal of the way that previous successes in global cooperation can inform the formation of common good governance on AI that is respectful of future generations and protective of human dignity and the common good of humanity.
The AI Military Race: Common Good Governance in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Oxford University Press 2023.
"Global commons law: norms to safeguard the planet and humanity's heritage". International Relations. 2021; 35(3): 422-445.
Check-out my new article: Humanity's Security
Stop the emerging AI cold war (nature.com)
"Redirect military budgets to tackle climate change and pandemics," Nature 584, 521-523 (2020).
"The AI Arms Race: Trends and World Leaders in Autonomous Weapons Development," co-authored with Justin Haner,
"Disarmament in International Law." In Oxford Bibliographies in International Law. Ed. Tony Carty. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.