Experts Discuss the Humanitarian and Societal Impact of Military Cyber Operations

At an online workshop, around 30 cyber experts discussed the humanitarian and societal impact of military cyber operations.

Aimed at mapping risk and protection needs in the context of contemporary military cyber capabilities, the workshop notably addressed the potential human cost of cyber operations, societal risks of cyber operations, and military cyber operations during armed conflicts.

The First Phase of a Research Project on the Digitalization of Armed Conflict

This workshop is one of the first steps of a research project – carried out jointly with the International Committee of the Red Cross –on the humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts.

Via a multi-disciplinary approach that takes into consideration the interrelated technical, military, ethical, policy, legal and humanitarian aspects, the research will assess the continued relevance of international law, especially international humanitarian law (IHL), in this context. Ultimately – and depending on the findings – it will develop law and policy recommendations aiming to mitigate the identified risks and address new protection needs.

From Cyber Technologies to the Use of AI in a Military Context

‘We start by looking at questions related to cyber technologies in a military context and their potential humanitarian consequences and protection needs for conflict-affected populations. At this stage, our objective is to get the facts right and ask the right questions’ explains Robin Geiss, Swiss IHL Chair at the Geneva Academy.

‘Subsequent workshops will discuss questions related to artificial intelligence (AI) and will notably address AI-supported decision-making processes during armed conflicts. Again, in the first instance the objective will be to gather technical expertise and to start an informed discussion on that basis’ he adds.

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