Global Youth Conference on Fully Autonomous Weapons

[Speech by Riikka Aarnos is available in English below]

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots ja japanilainen International Student Conference järjestivät yhdessä kampanjan ensimmäisen nuorten konferenssin 12.12.2020. Tilaisuudessa nuoret 20 maasta ympäri maailmaa kokoontuivat kertomaan, miksi täysin autonomiset asejärjestelmät tulisi kieltää.

Suomen edustaja ja kampanjan aktiivi Riikka Aarnos pohti puheenvuorossaan, miksi teknologian kärkimaana tunnettu Suomi ei ole liittynyt tukemaan neuvottelujen aloittamista kansainvälisen autonomiset asejärjestelmät kieltävän sopimuksen aikaansaamiseksi. Aarnos haluaa kieltää tappajarobotit, koska hän uskoo moraaliin, ihmisyyteen ja oikeudenmukaisuuteen – jopa sodassa. Puhe on luettavissa alla englanniksi.

The Decisions Are Made Today

Speech by Riikka Aarnos

My name is Riikka Aarnos. I come from Finland, a country that has been ranked as the world’s safest and happiest, with the best governance and the best school system. 

I am proud to announce that Finland recognises lethal autonomous weapon systems as a complex issue that poses some serious risks both from an ethical and legal standpoint. 

Furthermore, the Government of Finland has stated that “humans should always bear the ultimate responsibility when dealing with questions of life and death”. 

Despite these statements, Finnish officials have not supported proposals to negotiate a new international treaty to ban or restrict killer robots. 

This might be because Finland is a bit of a shy country that tries to stay neutral and stay away from all crucial decision-making. 

But when it comes to such an urgent issue as autonomous weapon systems we should not wait for other countries to catch up. 

Instead, I think that Finland should be a forerunner that sets an example for others to follow. 

As a leading country in technological development, Finland should make sure that artificial intelligence benefits humanity instead of threatening it. 

The decisions are made today.

I want Finland to join the group of 30 countries that are currently in favor of banning autonomous weapon systems because I believe in justice and morality even in warfare.

Removing human agency from the kill chain makes it possible for us to distance ourselves from the loss of human lives. 

Moreover, removing human agency means removing one central feature that separates us from machines: unlike humans, autonomous weapon systems do not have the ability to do otherwise – to act against their programming – to not to kill – even when it would be the moral thing to do. 

Taking away the human error also means taking away the humane good. Compassion, empathy, pity, mercy, and consideration are not only unique and valuable qualities, but also a precondition for us NOT to lose our humanity in war.

We should be less worried about artificial intelligence and more worried about human stupidity that wants to use this new autonomous technology to kill and destroy. 

This type of weaponry is unlikely to save us from our imperfection. On the contrary, the use of killer robots would take away the human potential for good during war. 

This could have catastrophic consequences for the world peace, for our humanity, for our children, for our grandchildren – for all of us.

Riikka Aarnos Youth Speaker from Finland
Kuva: ISC Team