Digital technologies play an increasing role in efforts to prevent conflict and build peace. As part of data- and evidence-based approaches, they promise to generate new insights into the causes and dynamics of conflict, and options for conflict resolution.
When it comes to anticipating and responding to future developments, such approaches aim to create more certainty about future events through predictive and forecasting methods. However, a growing number of initiatives also explores how technology may help guide the way towards peaceful futures by supporting peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding activities in ways that can embrace uncertainty.
This roundtable brings together scientists, scholars, and practitioners to shed light on applications of new technologies that may help engaging with, invoking, and facing peaceful futures in a world full of uncertainty. The participants will discuss how facing peaceful futures requires reconciling the world “as is” with the world that “could be” or “should be” through the skillful combination of scientific methods, hermeneutical sensitivity, and process-oriented facilitation. We will also point to the limits of human and machine cognition, the role of politics, and ethical challenges that arise through the increasing integration of human and machine capabilities in peacebuilding efforts.
about the speakers
Moderator: Andreas Hirblinger, Ambizione Research Fellow, Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP)
Martin Wählisch, Team Leader, Innovation Cell, Policy and Mediation Division, UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UN DPPA). Dr. Waehlisch leads the Innovation Cell, an interdisciplinary team dedicated to exploring, piloting, and scaling new technologies, tools, and practices in conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding. He holds a PhD in International Law and published the edited volume “Rethinking Peace Mediation: Challenges of Contemporary Peacemaking Practice” (Bristol University Press 2021).
Valerie Sticher, Research Fellow, AI Singapore. She combines academic research and more than ten years of practitioner experience to support opposing parties in the transition from war to negotiated peace. Her PhD research at Leiden University focused on the role of ceasefires as strategic bargaining instruments. In her current research, she investigates how artificial intelligence affects bargaining dynamics in peace processes.
Kristoffer Lidén, Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). His current research focuses on the global governance of risks using new technologies and the ethics of peace mediation.
Yasmeen al-Eryani, Director of Research at the Sana’a Center and Inclus analyst. She has experience in the application of PeaceTech tools to support peace dialogues in Libya, Palestine, Iraq and Yemen. Her research examines how teachers in Yemen negotiate their ‘vocation’ in the context of a protracted conflict. Her previous research on Yemen focused on civil society amid political transition. Al-Eryani holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Helsinki and a B.A. in Government Studies from Georgetown University.
Maurizio Pierini is a CERN Research Physicist working on the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. He currently holds an ERC Consolidator Grant for a project that aims to use Deep Learning solutions to address particle physics problems.