Legend has it that in the 13th century Dominican friar Albertus Magnus built an artificial ‘brazen head’ that could talk and answer any question asked. According to story, his student, philosopher Thomas Aquinas, eventually smashed the head for ‘talking too much’. Centuries after this medieval escapade, artificial intelligence (AI) ventured into the world of science fiction, Hollywood movies, and eventually, computer science where it positioned itself front and centre.
Since its creation, the Internet has been regarded as a world of opportunities. Whereas it gives access to information, knowledge, and ideas, and contributes to faster communication and new business models, online engagement can also result in negative consequences that must be addressed. These include cyberbullying, self-harm, sexting, fake news, harmful or disturbing content, and threats to privacy, to name just a few. In recent years, debates on the psychological impacts of the Internet, including addiction and overexposure to technology, have also gained in momentum.
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) together with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a workshop on The Role of Regional Organizations in Strengthening Cybersecurity and Stability. A total of five sessions was held on: regional perspectives, inter-regional co-operation, best practices, international perspectives, and issues for international dialogue.
Aesop once said that, ‘in union there is strength’. One can argue that this a perfect reflection of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) 2018 opening session where multilateralism, reform of the UN, and sustainable development prevailed.