Dr Heather Roff Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

AI is one potential way to enable real-time, cost-effective and efficient responses to a variety of human security-related issues.

Drone photo of Vagiohori refugee camp in subzero temperature, in Vagiohori, Greece. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.Drone photo of Vagiohori refugee camp in subzero temperature, in Vagiohori, Greece. Photo via Getty Images.

Summary

  • AI is one potential way to enable real-time, cost-effective and efficient responses to a variety of human security-related issues. AI applications related to search, classification and novel pattern recognition can help to correlate and extract content and meaning from multiple sources.
  • AI planning applications can quickly, reasonably and reliably enable users to carry out complex and multi-stage actions in disaster relief operations. The need for this capability is illustrated by the UN’s average estimated response times for new peacekeeping missions. The UN estimates that when a new crisis emerges – that is, a crisis that involves violence and mass threats to human rights – the estimated response time to plan and field a credible peacekeeping mission is six to 12 months.
  • It is important to still use normative principles to interrogate the purpose and effects of AI applications as they relate to empowerment and human security. AI is as likely to disempower people as it is to empower them, and so it is necessary to use ethical principles to guide the creation and deployment of AI systems.
  • Human security is not for an elite few, and so the capabilities of AI must be within everyone’s grasp. When it comes to applications related to disaster relief, conflict prevention, human rights protection and justice, it is imperative that wider schemes of data sharing are employed by individuals, groups, NGOs and governments. However, it is simultaneously imperative that data, through sharing and acquisition, are also protected to the greatest possible extent.