The past week the Dutch goverment hosted and organised the military AI conference REAIM 2023. Together with eight other NGOs we signed an open letter, initated by Oumaima Hajri, that calls on the Dutch government to stop promoting narratives of “innovation” and “opportunities” but, rather, centre the very real and often disparate human impact.
Specifically, we fear that the REAIM summit will further normalise the militarisation of AI, which, with its increasing autonomy, will continue to harm historically marginalised communities disproportionally. Military AI is frequently promoted in terms of its benefits whilst neglecting how its disparate harms fit into wider systems of violence, exclusion, over-surveillance, criminalisation, structural discrimination and racism. Accepting AI-enabled applications as legitimate means within the military domain would exponentially lead to the enactment of violence on populations of people, risking their right to life and dignity and making access to justice for victims even more difficult.
Concretely, we call upon the Dutch government to:
- Commit to a moratorium on developing military AI systems until the government has established robust human rights impact management systems and implements clear policies.
- Place advocacy efforts to establish internationall laws that regulate these developments; clarify exact scope and implications of “military purposes” in Art. 2 of the proposed EU Council position on the EU AI Act; eliminate the reference to “national security purposes” from the exemptions.
- Put human rights at the centre, by actively consulting civil society, human rights groups, experts and marginalised communities that engage with and/or are affected by developments in the subject matter.
The letter has been signed by Article 36, Vredesorganisatie PAX, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Bits of Freedom, Waag Futurelab, Controle Alt Delete, Privacy First and European Network Against Racism.
Oumaima’s alliance is one of three projects that have recently been funded by the Racism and Technology Center.