Committee on Science and Technology for Development
Topic A: Internet Censorship and Privacy
In modern times, the internet is a defining force underlying democracy. With it, societies are able now more than ever to democratize the flow of information, facilitate active participation from people of all classes, and maintain transparency in government and industry. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is stated that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,” and recently the UN Human Rights Council asserted that these rights must be protected online. However, many obstacles prevent the internet from helping the people that it could most benefit. Power-hungry regimes seek to use the internet to their advantage, either by restricting the flow of information or by scrutinizing it in violation of privacy rights to gain unfettered perspective on their constituents. Similarly, tech companies risk abusing virtually limitless information in the pursuit of monetization and profit. The advent of machine learning promises to exacerbate these issues further by empowering relevant entities to analyze and utilize big data in unprecedented ways. In addressing this topic, the body will be tasked with identifying soft and hard sources of excessive limitation (e.g. privacy violation and censorship); determining the roles of international organizations, governments, and companies in handling these issues; and creating novel solutions to balance the interests of these groups and those of citizens. Delegates are encouraged to review the role of the internet in recent civil uprisings and elections, as well as to investigate ongoing trends in the evolution of the internet.
Topic B: Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?
Like many types of technology, artificial intelligence (also known as machine learning) has the potential to advance the human condition. Impressively, if developed well over the coming decades, artificial intelligence could potentially ameliorate humanity’s largest ails: illness, war, and poverty. However, these potential advances do not come without a cost. As AI is developed, we become progressively less able to predict what the outcome of such developments will be. Even excluding apocalyptic scenarios of computers bypassing humans (can we?), there are numerous consequences that must be appropriately considered before they are tangible. Central to many of these is inequality. Wealth inequality could be exacerbated as the most potent technology will be concentrated in the hands of the few, while the prowess of artificial intelligence promises to eradicate human involvement in jobs ranging from delivery drivers to paralegals. Similarly, certain nations will have larger involvement with artificial intelligence and its uses - these countries will likely be those which already have massive economic advantages. In terms of diplomacy, advances in threat assessment, strategy, and overall positioning promise to make machine learning algorithms a key tool on the global stage - this will not be shared evenly. Of course, we cannot forget that uncontrolled, reckless development of this budding technology is gravely irresponsible. In addressing this topic, the body will be tasked with addressing these issues and determining how we can best develop and utilize this technology, how we can do so without exposing ourselves to the greatest disruption humanity has yet witnessed, and how countries can share the benefits therein.
This is a double delegate committee.
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