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Webinar: How do emergent and disruptive technologies shape the security agenda in the South?

Co-organised 8 october 2020 by Allied Command Transformation (ACT) & NATO Strategic Direction South Hub (NSD-S HUB)



Background and focus
Technological innovation and digital transformations brought the possibility of improving and change significantly the human condition in a short lap of time.
It is expected that the near future will be marked by learning machines, artificial intelligence, edited genomes, autonomous systems , virtual stateless currencies, and private space travel. All this represents an incredible potential for human welfare.
Nevertheless, these emergent and disruptive technologies represent also enormous challenges as well to nations and individuals.
Online social networking, artificial intelligence and robotics, the Internet, and the Internet of Things, broaden free speech and can improve economic development and increase opportunities. However, they can also spread misinformation, hate speech, inequality, illegal surveillance, and promoting violence.
The security sector faces significant challenges with these new technological disruptors. Attacks using UAV in Yemen, Iraq , Syria, UAE , ransomware attacks such as the recent Ragnar locker, and the potential use of nano and quantum technologies with malicious intent will be a common scenario for future generations.
In 2016 NATO has committed itself to better understand these technologies and to assess their applicability in the military domain and to implement them through innovative solutions.
Through the Framework for the South, NATO works in cooperation with African and Middle Eastern countries to help to enhance regional security and stability. From within this cooperative frame NATO wants to enhance the shared understanding on how emergent and disruptive technologies shape the security agenda in the South. Therefore, ACT and the NSD-HUB are co-organising a webinar on this topic to bring together experts and practitioners to explore and debate these common challenges and their implications in security.
From a foundation of common understanding we can work together on identifying opportunities to enhance stability in the south.
SACT has the intent to further lead the military transformation of alliance forces and capabilities. The NSD-S HUB is committed to connect, consult, and coordinate with the South. The ambition to enhance Stability in the South is a long-term commitment; the impact of digital transformation will keep unfolding.
We hope that this will be remembered in the future as the starting point of very fruitful cooperation between NATO and the South regarding not only, but also, to EDT.

Objectives of the webinar
• Share knowledge and develop common understanding on the topic.
• Identify opportunities for further cooperation to enhance stability in the South.
• Understand and identify possible malign usage and develop a perspective for deterrence.
• Build up a network between NATO, partners, and interested organizations in the South.

Target audience
• Interested NATO and National Defence Staff.
• NATO partners and willing Nations
• Policy makers, researchers, on security topics in the South / emerging technologies.
• Think-tanks, international organisation, NGO’s.

Webinar Set-up
• Moderator and speakers: The webinar consist of 4 panellists from Africa and the Middle East. They are joined by a group of approximately 12 international and regional experts. The webinar was moderated by Dr. David Kilcullen, a renowned expert in the field.
• Format for the webinar: two sequential panels with presentations and questions and answers with the experts. After the panels a discussion forum was hosted.
               - Welcome and opening Plenary Session - Presentation provided by the moderator framing the discussion on EDT in the Middle East and Africa.
                - First panel - The Latest Developments of EDT in the Middle East and Africa regarding data (to include block chain, disinformation and artificial intelligence)
                - Second panel - The Latest Developments of EDT in the Middle East and Africa regarding autonomy, space and cyber (to include cyber capabilities, cyber terrorism, cybercrime, etc.)
                - Discussion Forum - This session gave the audience an additional opportunity to raise questions and briefly present their own points of view enriching the discussion and enhancing the networking among the community of interest in EDT.
                 - Conclusions – Will reflect and summarize the main challenges and opportunities identified during the Webinar by the Moderator.
• Duration: 3 Hours.


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