On 12 September at the Political Affairs and Security Directorate of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, a meeting took place between the Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Italian Republic, Stefano Ronca, the Head of the Disarmament Office, Amb. Cons. Maurizio Antonini, and the Head of the Cyber Unit, Min. Plen. Laura Carpini, to discuss the sensitive ethical and legal aspects created by the development of artificial intelligence in the field of security.
In fact, the Order cannot fail to dwell on the risks that new technologies entail on both a political and social level that are being closely followed by our representatives at the United Nations in New York and Geneva which also worry the Holy See and the most responsible government.
Indeed, there is widespread bewilderment among the public opinion and the civil society about the unpredictability of developments in artificial intelligence and its consequences especially in the field of geopolitics and security.
The danger of autonomous artificial intelligence systems especially in the military field has led the international community to intensify meetings and symposia in this field.
During the talks, reference was made to UN Secretary General Guterres’ vibrant speech on 18 July 2023 in the Security Council on the need to regulate artificial intelligence because of the risks its developments entail. The need to ensure that these developments respect humanitarian laws and especially the principle of discrimination between civilians and military personnel is at the heart of Secretary General Guterres’ concerns, as well as those of the Italian authorities for whom, our interlocutors at the Farnesina reiterated, humanitarian aspects remain an absolute priority.
However, particular concern is aroused today by the polarisation, within the international institutions, of positions between States belonging to opposing areas. In fact, there are closures to dialogue that are unparalleled even in the most tense moments of the Cold War.