AI is Assisting the UN in Preventing Nuclear War

AI UN Political and diplomatic policy

The recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence have been significant and rapidly increasing. The technology is no longer confined to research labs, but is making its way into everyday life and showing great promise in addressing humanity’s most pressing challenges.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. The Treaty has a unique and comprehensive verification regime consisting of three pillars:

The International Monitoring System(IMS) will consist of 337 facilities worldwide to monitor the planet for signs of nuclear explosions. Around 90 percent of the facilities, using 4 technologies (seismic, infrasound, hydro-acoustic and radionuclide), are already up and running. The system has already proved it’s effectiveness, it continuously picks up a wide range of phenomena including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and meteor strikes, as well as non-nuclear explosions such as the blast that devastated Beirut in 2020.   

The International Data Centre (IDC) at the CTBTO’s headquarters in Vienna acquires data from
the IMS global monitoring stations. The data are processed automatically, reviewed by human
analysts and distributed to the CTBTO’s Member States in both raw and analyzed form.

• On-site inspections (OSI) can be dispatched to the area of a suspicious nuclear explosion if the data from the IMS indicate that a nuclear test has taken place there. Inspectors will collect evidence on the ground at the suspected site.

UN Ensuring AI is Used For Good

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations, recognizes the potential of AI for good and has been organizing the “AI for Good” series since 2017. In 2018, the AI for Good Global Summit brought together AI innovators and decision-makers from both the public and private sectors, including over 30 UN agencies, to develop AI strategies and support projects that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

UN Trying to Ensure AI is Used for good

Various innovative AI initiatives are being undertaken by UN agencies, including how AI is being used to combat hunger, address climate change, and improve healthcare. It also delves into the challenges and risks associated with AI, such as ethical, social and human rights implications, as well as the impact on employment and the future of work. Achieving a transformative, yet safe, trusted, and inclusive AI will require unprecedented collaboration between government, industry, academia, and civil society.

The UN family has a critical role in ensuring that technological progress is balanced with social progress. ITU remains dedicated to working closely with other UN agencies and stakeholders to promote a shared understanding of emerging AI technologies.

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