Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD)

Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD)

Topics

Topic 1:

There are currently about 6000 man-made satellites in the Earth’s orbit. About 60% of them are no longer operational. Every time another satellite is deployed, the risk of potential malfunction and collision increases. Multiple prognoses and simulations also show enormous potential for collisions to cascade, as every collision results in more and more debris. In the worst-case scenarios, such cascading can render the space around Earth unnavigable for centuries to come. In order to combat this ever-rising issue, multiple international actors have proposed possible ideas for cleaning up the orbit. Which of these solutions could be recommended by the committee? Who would pay and who would be responsible? How can we prevent the further creation of debris? These are merely some of the questions that UNCSTD will attempt to answer.

Topic 2: 

“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.” ~ Eliezer Yudkowsky. Thought experiments and fiction have always been drivers of human growth – Artificial Intelligence is no different. We can traceback the first few “intelligent” systems to projects out of DARPA and Carnegie Melon, such as the first autonomous car. Since then, much has changed, and what was once fiction is now closer and closer to becoming reality. As the world enters the third decade of the XXI century, and machine learning is commonplace, we are closer than ever to developing a true AI. This makes the issue of AI ethics, which date back to Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics, at the forefront of discussion in the field of AI. Why are AI ethics important? How can we protect ourselves against unintended discrimination by AI? Why (and if) does this issue need the UN to discuss it? Should there be a universal international framework? This committee will address this, and more.

The chairs: