LOCATION: Westin Lobby
The panel and audience pursued a vigorous – and occasionally pointed – debate on the promise and the risks of military innovation. The discussion focused primarily on the issue of autonomous weapons systems and biotechnology. Specifically, panellists examined whether the responsibility for ethical use belongs to the scientists and innovators endowing these weapons with greater intelligence, or to those executing these advanced capabilities in the field. Experts from the military, watchdog, and political realms offered differing views, ultimately agreeing that the element of human decision-making must be safeguarded above all.
“I’m not quite certain that you can create artificial intelligence that’s going to act and react in the same way that you think a human being is going to react.”
“You hear comments, ‘Well, if we have autonomous operations and robots, there are moral and ethical issues involved with that’. There are moral and ethical issues involved with using a bayonet.”
The final plenary of the Forum examined the criminal activity that is bankrolling global terror activity. From oil exports, the drug trade, prostitution and human trafficking, right down to a mundane ATM cash withdrawal from compromised banking systems in the Middle East – it seems there is no end to the list of revenue generators for terror networks. The panel discussed ways to overcome the roadblocks to prosecution of these crimes, which are complicated by complicit allies, “informal economies”, and a lack of support for domestic law enforcement. Panelists finished with a call for renewed cooperation among nations to disrupt a dangerously diverse and sophisticated web of criminal enterprise. Halifax International Security Forum President Peter Van Praagh came on stage to conclude the 2015 Forum by thanking all speakers, participants and sponsors.
“When we manage to identify smugglers in antiquities for example, there is high probability that they are extremely connected to the ones trafficking oil, phosphate, sulphur, cement, wheat – all these products are being smuggled through these routes. Probably pulling one thread will lead to destroying the whole sweater.”
“We’re concentrating on the plight of the refugees, as we should. But part of the problem in this is that we’re ignoring the traffickers. I’ve never seen a more disorganized issue than human trafficking. Nobody works together on it.”
LOCATION: Atlantic Ballroom
The Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Defence Minister and President Peter Van Praagh deliver remarks to the press to close the 2015 Halifax International Security Forum.
“The Pentagon expects the new Canadian government to allow Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter aircraft to compete to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 jets, despite the Liberal Party’s stated opposition to the planes, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said on Saturday…”
“As the situation in Syria grinds on and members of the global community consider increasing military action to fight the Islamic State group, a top US Senator today defended the US reluctance for large-scale military intervention…”
“The Canadian government’s decision to increase training for troops on the ground in the fight against ISIS is a key requirement in defeating the terrorist organization, according to American senators at the Halifax International Security Forum…”
“Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy is participating in an international security forum in Canada where he’ll be talking with U.S. allies about efforts to defeat the Islamic State group. “Murphy is expected to discuss his push to tighten immigration laws, particularly the visa waiver program…argues under current regulations, foreign visitors from any of the 38 participating countries could easily travel to the U.S., buy a gun and use it to cause harm…”
“U.S. senators attending a global security meeting in Halifax say they should be able to work out a strategy with Canada as the new Liberal government moves forward with plans to halt aerial bombing of ISIS in the Mideast…”