Rethinking arms control: a second conference at the Federal Foreign Office on 6 November 2020

05.11.2020 - Article

Now is the time to chart the future of arms control – and the second edition of the conference 'Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control.' on 6 November 2020 aims to provide key momentum in this regard.

Charting the future of arms control
Charting the future of arms control© E+ / gettyimages

The rapid pace of technology is creating the ability to develop completely new weapons systems:

  • artificial intelligence that far outpaces human fighter pilots’ abilities;
  • armed swarms of drones that home in on their target without any human interaction;
  • hypersonic missiles that travel several times the speed of sound, making existing defence systems obsolete and;
  • anti-satellite weapons that turn space into a new domain for international conflict.
  • This future is near, and it already now poses large and complex challenges for foreign policy. These can only be resolved through the global exchange of ideas between states, industry and science.

Current trends and developments in military technology

For some years now, the topic of new technologies and military innovation has been addressed by various multilateral fora. Developments in the spheres of weapons systems using artificial intelligence, conflicts in cyberspace and the risks of the militarisation of space are currently being intensively discussed in the United Nations. These discussions revolve around more than mere technological trends. They focus on new technical options for warfare in the future and the risks this can pose to the international community.

Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control.

On 6 November, the second edition of the conference Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control. is being held – although this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is taking place in a virtual format. The conference brings together high-level politicians and diplomats and renowned military, scientific and industry experts from around the world. The aim of their exchange is to build on the results of the first conference that was held in March 2019 and to discover new, innovative options for the future of arms control. The high-level panel will look closely at the impact new technology is having on global stability and security, and at Europe’s role in developing an effective arms control architecture of the future.


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