News & Announcements

Science and Technlogy History Explored in Emerging Technology Symposium

Jul 2021 - News

On 21 July 2021, the Toda Peace Institute and Platform for Security and Emerging Technologies (PSET) co-organised an online symposium under the title “Examining Norms and Regulations for Emerging-Technology Weapons 2: A Perspective Provided by the History of Science and Technology.” The innovative format included a panel of three speakers gathered virtually. The symposium was conducted in Japanese. The development of science and technology has enabled a dramatic increase in the capabilities of weapons and has had a profound impact on security of states. There are concerns that restrictions on military technology may affect the use of technology for civilian purposes, which is known as the issue of dual-use technology. How we can look at such regulations in a situation where it is difficult to fully predict the potential effects of advanced technologies is an uneasy question today. With this question in mind, the three panelists, including a scientist and an engineer as commentators, discussed what we can learn from the knowledge provided by the history of science and technology on the issue of autonomous lethal weapon systems (LAWS), which has been attracting a lot of attention in recent years. Ms. Sumiko Hatakeyama of Peace Boat, who is a doctoral candidate in history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S., mentioned the societal nature of science, saying that science cannot be neutral from society, and that we need to look at the process of making, circulation, application, and use of knowledge of science and technology in order to address the question with complexity and uncertainty. She touched on the idea of “technologies of humility” and discussed how scientists can fulfill their responsibilities in a risk society. Dr. Tomohiro Inagaki, Professor at Hiroshima University and Chair of the Pugwash Japan, discussed how knowledge in science has developed, taking astrophysics, life science, and information science as examples, and explained how research is done at sites linking multiple research institutions and companies. He also discussed what scientists can do in such an environment, and the role of scientists with regard to problems science cannot answer. Mr. Tomoyoshi Hirata, Representative of the Military-Civilian Dual-Use and Fusion Technology Research Unit of POLARIS (Policy Laboratory for Research on Civil Society and Science & Technology), Meiji University compared AI weapons and nuclear weapons which is often understood to have triggered the military revolution, and pointed out the problems that a simple comparison between the two can bring. He pointed out that the military technology involved in advanced technology weapons is not necessarily cutting-edge and that civilian technology is now being diverted to military use in various ways. He concluded it is necessary to have good understanding of the technology to see the nature of the problem from multiple perspectives, referring to the effectiveness and importance of involving citizen engineers (white hat hackers) in the discussion on regulation of advanced-technology weapons. The moderator, Kimiaki Kawai, Research Fellow of the Toda Peace Institute, referred to the roles of the three stakeholders involved: the science and technology community, the military and security policy community, and the general public. He concluded that the interaction between the expert knowledge of the former two communities and the field knowledge of the public consisting of diverse values would be the basis for addressing the question especially when the question involves uncertainty beyond expert knowledge.        

Distinguished Scholar Award for Toda Director

Jun 2021 - News

Professor Kevin Clements, Director of Toda Peace Institute and retired Foundation Director of the University of Otago’s National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS), has been awarded the International Studies Association’s (ISA) 2022 Distinguished Scholar Award in its Peace Studies Section. The ISA says the award is given each year to a scholar who has a substantial record of research, practice and/or publishing in the field of peace and conflict studies. The Association’s selection committee was deeply impressed by the breadth and quality of Professor Clements’ work on disarmament, conflict resolution and problems of historical memory and reconciliation in Asia-Pacific, as well as his institution – and organization – building work. “I would like to share this honour with all of my colleagues since, among other things, the committee noted my ‘institution and organisation building work’. I could do no institution building without all of your talent, hard work and support. I look forward to acknowledging my NCPACS and Australian Peace and Conflict Studies’ colleagues at the Award ceremony!” said Professor Clements. At the upcoming 2022 International Studies Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Professor Clements  will join the Distinguished Scholar Awards Roundtable to celebrate his contributions to the field. Professor Clements was at the University of Otago for 11 years before retiring in 2020. He was awarded the New Zealand Peace Foundation’s 2014 Peacemaker Award and served as Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association and past Secretary General of The Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. Prior to taking up these positions he was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. His career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Professor Clements has been a regular consultant to a variety of non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations. Professor Clements joins a distinguished group of scholars who have been recognised with this award since its establishment in 2013. The ISA is one of the oldest interdisciplinary associations dedicated to understanding international, transnational and global affairs. Founded in 1959, its more than 7,000 members span the globe – comprising academics, practitioners, policy experts, private sector workers and independent researchers, among others. The Association has long served as a central hub for the exchange of ideas and for networking and programmatic initiatives among those involved in the study, teaching and practice of International Studies. Through its highly attended Annual Convention and regional/international conferences, as well as its respected journals and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies, the Association promotes rigorous discussion, research and writing on a broad range of topics within International Studies, broadly construed.        

[SHARE] Stop the Emerging AI Cold War

May 2021 - News

In this article which appears on Nature's website and soon in its print edition, Toda International Research Advisory Council member Professor Denise Garcia argues that proliferating military artificial intelligence will leave the world less safe — so we must focus on ethics and global cooperation. The relentless pursuit of militarization does not protect us. It diverts resources and attention from nearer existential threats, such as extreme weather events. With the world reeling from COVID-19 — the shock of the century — now is not the moment to hasten towards worldwide confrontation. In 2019 alone, climate disasters displaced almost one million people in the United States. China, too, is extremely vulnerable to global warming. This common ground could pave the way to cooperation, including stopping the emerging AI cold war.  See full article here: Nature 593, 169 (2021) Image: US cyber warfare operators (Airman Magazine)/Flickr          

[SHARE] Raising Climate Ambition Should Include Environmental Peacebuilding

May 2021 - News

In January, the Biden Administration released the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. It is a sweeping document that integrates climate concerns into policy and governance, including into national security. It recognizes that environmental security, the integration of environmental considerations into national security strategy, policy, and programs, is essential to combat the global climate crisis and should be mainstreamed across U.S. government efforts.  Read more in this New Security Beat article by Elsa Barron and Sherri Goodman.      

[SHARE] We Want To Be Included

Mar 2021 - News

More than 100 traditional owners and leading scientists from across Australia met this week to build a national First Nations voice on climate change. From marine heatwaves and rising seas to bushfires and mass species deaths, climate change is having a major impact on First Peoples, their country, health and culture. Internationally, Indigenous people make up less than 5% of the world’s population, but they manage and protect 80% of global biodiversity. Read more at Image: Jochen Bullerjahn/Flickr