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ICAN hosts expert meeting on emerging technologies and nuclear risks

Experts are just beginning to look into the impacts of offensive cyber capabilities and the increased application of machine learning on nuclear weapons risks. There is little disagreement that emerging technologies will increase the risk of possible nuclear use in the future and little confidence in any easy solutions to lower this risk. An expert meeting convened by ICAN analyzed these risks, the way forward, and how to communicate the problem to the public.

On 27 November in Geneva, ICAN hosted a one-day expert meeting on the increased risk of nuclear weapon use posed by emerging technologies, including applied machine learning and cyber warfare. There is near consensus that emerging technologies, like offensive cyber capabilities and artificial intelligence will increase the risk of nuclear use in years to come. While experts are beginning to raise the alarm and discuss the threat with the technology community and policy makers, there has been little public engagement.

Here's where ICAN comes in. Our meeting brought together about a dozen academics, policy makers and activists to discuss the increasing threat posed by applying emerging technologies to nuclear weapons, the solutions to reduce this threat and how to communicate about it to the public. We also covered possible positive implications of emerging technologies for nuclear disarmament verification and safeguards implementation. Throughout the meeting, we debated how to effectively communicate these threats to the public to better engage them on the subject and encourage action. This expert workshop will kick off a larger project from ICAN on emerging technology and nuclear weapons risks.

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