UNRCPD explores Responsible Innovation with the ASEAN Data Science Explorers

نوفمبر 25th, 2019

Bangkok, 10 October:  The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament for Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) conducted a workshop about responsible innovation for young innovators at the regional finals for the ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ADSE).

Science and technology are advancing rapidly and could potentially contribute to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but this quick advancement also raises concerns about potential risks and challenges to peace and security. In this light, UNRCPD partnered with both the ASEAN Foundation and SAP, a private company, to discuss the importance of responsible innovation for peace and security.

The workshop brought together science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) student finalists—young innovators who are essential to navigating the ethical implications of new technologies and innovations. The participating youth were given two interactive scenario-based activities which challenged them to think critically about ethical issues around emerging technologies and their role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The participants found the workshop insightful and thought-provoking.

“It was really interesting to learn about the specific challenges that we face regarding technological advancements. The exercise with the small group was engaging, and it gave us a better idea of the complexity that comes with innovation. It was nice seeing different perspectives because we recognize how an intersectional approach is really necessary to make sure that we are safe and secure with the systems that we create”, a finalist from the Philippines said.

At the end of the workshop, the youth representatives formulated a number of key takeaways. Firstly, it is necessary to engage a variety of stakeholders when creating responsible innovation or technology to ensure a broad variety of views. Secondly, responsible and ethical innovation must be safely implemented (not harming lives), legally used (compliant with rules and regulations) and secured (not providing any open space to be misused). Thirdly, to the extent possible, technology must be designed in such a way that it will not be misused and/or dysfunctional. Finally, participants concluded that discussion among a range of actors is necessary to build consensus on defining and determining misuse of technology, as this is a challenging topic that is subject to personal views and priorities as well as to various socio-economic and cultural perspectives.

The ADSE competition aims to enhance awareness of the ASEAN community among students through digital literacy intervention, targeting tertiary students who have training in data analytics. This joint initiative between the ASEAN Foundation and SAP encourages youth from ASEAN States to harness the power of data, highlight key social issues in the region and derive meaningful insights that lead to innovative solutions. The ADSE is an annual event which includes national-level competitions for all 10 ASEAN Member States teams: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

For further information on UNRCPD’s responsible innovation activities, please contact Ms. Jane E. Lawson, Peace and Disarmament Education Coordinator for Asia and Pacific (jane.lawson@un.org), and Mr. Charles Ovink, Political Affairs Officer (charles.ovink@un.org).

More information on the ADSE programme can be found here: https://www.aseandse.org/