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Specialized course for media professionals on Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Robotics

Organized by UNICRI and the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a feature of science fiction writing for almost a century, but it is only in more recent years that the prospect of truly autonomous robotics - even those that have only limited functionality - have become viable. While this potentially will provide great opportunities, the development of AI is likely to impact upon the very functioning of society, posing practical, ethical and security challenges.

To deepen the understanding of many implications of these technological advances, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael are organizing a specialized course for media and public information professionals.

The course will take place from 23 to 24 March 2016 at the Institute of International Relations Clingendael, The Hague (The Netherlands).

The media and sources of public information are central in ensuring that citizens and institutions have a realistic and balanced understanding of such technologies. Clear, objective and reliable reporting is crucial in disentangling the myriad complexities inherent in discussions about AI and its security implications.

Throughout the two-day workshop, journalists and public information professionals will deepen their understanding of AI and autonomous robotics, their potential applications in day-to-day life and conflict situations, and the challenges that their introduction may pose, especially in terms of security. Participants will also be engaged in a series of brainstorming sessions and practical exercises with eminent engineers, academics and policy makers, expanding their professional network in a select, international environment.

In particular, the course also addresses:

  • Existing robot actors and AI capabilities
  • Do robots change humanity? Public perception and fears
  • The value and vulnerabilities of Artificial Intelligence
  • The challenge of preventing the inadvertent appropriation of AI by criminal organizations, terrorist groups or other non-state actors
  • Areas for technical development (e.g. DARPA Robotics Challenge and the creation of self-driving cars)
  • Safeguards against a self-educating system developing inappropriately
  • Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems and the concept and importance of 'Meaningful Human Control'
  • Regional and International organizations, and State-level discussion
  • Creating a culture of legal and moral responsibility from designer to end user
  • Patterns of press reporting on Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Robotics

Participants will acquire key tools to improve reporting on compelling news stories and to help frame debates around AI and autonomous robotics.

The course is organized within the framework of the UNICRI Journalism and Public Information Programme focusing on new threats to states and citizens, in particular those associated with the onset of globalization and technological advances.

Deadline for applications: 14 February 2016 (23:00 CET)

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