LAUNCH: What is PeaceTech?
Announcing the release of the “PeaceTech Topic Map: A Research Base for an Emerging Field,” an overview of the key themes and challenges of technologies used by and created for peace efforts.
From sensors to detect explosives to geographic data for disaster relief to artificial intelligence verifying misleading online content, data and technology are essential assets for peace efforts. Indeed, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is a direct example of data, data science, and technology as a whole has been mobilized to assist and monitor conflict responses and support peacebuilding.
Yet understanding the ways in which technology can be applied for peace, and what kinds of peace promotion they can serve, as well as their associated risks remain muddled. Thus, a framework for the governance of these peace technologies — #PeaceTech — is needed at an international and transnational level to guide the responsible and purposeful use of technology and data to strengthen peace and justice initiatives.
Today, The GovLab is proud to announce the release of the “PeaceTech Topic Map: A Research Base for an Emerging Field,” an overview of the key themes and challenges of technologies used by and created for peace efforts.
What is PeaceTech?
PeaceTech is a new term that broadly refers to any type of technology that can be used to support peacebuilding, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace enforcement efforts. It includes everything from simple communication technologies, such as radios and social media, to more complex systems like satellite imagery and early warning systems, which can be used to satisfy different definitions of peace, from positive to negative at a writ little to writ large level to support different ways to achieving peace.
However, PeaceTech is a complicated field. The growth of technology for peace is occurring alongside the co-option of existing technologies to the peace field. The success of these tools to promote the field is dependent on who is using the technology and how they employ it. Without proper governance and oversight on the dual use of PeaceTech, these efforts pose a risk of harm to civilians and peace personnel.
Global PeaceTech Hub
To fill the gap between peace studies and global governance and policy, in 2021, The GovLab, in partnership with the EUI School of Transnational Governance and the University of Lucerne, launched the Global PeaceTech Hub (GPT).
Bringing together cross-sectoral experts and emerging talent, the GPT looks to the public, private, and academic sectors to set an agenda for PeaceTech governance and regulatory frameworks via new conceptual tools and methods that inform these policies at a European and global level. The GPT hosts research on the role of blockchain, predictive analytics, platforms, ethics, and cyber-diplomacy at a transnational level.
The PeaceTech Topic Map
To get a 30,000-foot overview of current practices and challenges, The GovLab developed the “PeaceTech Topic Map: A Research Base for an Emerging Field.”
Using our R-Search methodology, we conducted a rapid scan of leading scholarship and real-world applications to establish a comprehensive landscape of the PeaceTech space.
Our analysis had three layers. First, we looked at the types of technologies and enabling conditions influencing PeaceTech need and deployment, categorizing them between physical tools, such as 3D printing, IoT sensors, and drones, and digital and virtual tools, such as online platforms, algorithms, and virtual reality to demonstrate the implementation of PeaceTech. Second, we organized a non-exhaustive list of applications into six categories — prediction, narratives, infrastructure damage, human rights violations and abuses, migration flows, and humanitarian response. Third, we considered the risks associated with PeaceTech and found that insufficient and fragmented regulation and governance understanding of technologies in the PeaceTech space created policy blindspots and allowed for negative uses of technology to oppress and target individuals.
With this topic map in mind, the GPT has been able to identify pressing avenues for research and appreciate a more thorough understanding of how these three aspects of PeaceTech are intertwined. The topic map will also help guide portfolio design, future research, and fundraising directions for the GPT and other practitioners in the field.
Explore the topic map here.
Global PeaceTech Conference
On November 21–22, The GPT will be hosting its flagship conference on PeaceTech, the “Global PeaceTech Conference 2022” in Florence, Italy. With experts across the PeaceTech field, this conference will explore how technology can enhance peace as well as avenues to drive short- and long-term peace with technology and digital governance. During the conference, the KluzPrize for PeaceTech, an initiative supported by Artur Kluz, Founder and CEO of Kluz Ventures, will be awarded to a research team whose project demonstrates the exceptional potential in applying emerging technologies to positively impact transnational peace and cooperation.
The event is by invitation only. However, the second day of panels and workshops will include several sessions open to the public. These events include “Towards Ethical Design and Implementation of AI in Peacebuilding,” scheduled for 22 November at 2:30 PM CET with The GovLab’s Stefan Verhulst. With Jennifer Easterday (Justpeace Labs), Branka Panic (AI for Peace), and Andrea Renda (EUI School of Transnational Governance) Stefaan will help lead a workshop on “the possibility of creating a more central ethics resource for peacebuilding practitioners working with AI-based technologies.”
For conference updates and ways to get involved in PeaceTech, please contact Michele Giovanardi at email@example.com.
About The GovLab
The Governance Lab’s mission is to improve people’s lives by changing the way we govern. Our goal at The GovLab is to strengthen the ability of institutions — including but not limited to governments — and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively, and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems. We believe that increased availability and use of data, new ways to leverage the capacity, intelligence, and expertise of people in the problem-solving process, combined with new advances in technology and science, can transform governance. We approach each challenge and opportunity in an interdisciplinary, collaborative way, irrespective of the problem, sector, geography, and level of government. For more information, visit thegovlab.org
About the EUI School of Transnational Governance
The School of Transnational Governance was established in 2017 as part of the European University Institute in Florence. In the cradle of the Renaissance, we teach, train and learn by providing a platform where transnational policy actors across politics, business, civil society, media and academia meet. We are here for anyone with an open and independent mind, for thinkers and for doers. We bring together some of the best teachers, trainers and policy-makers from around the world. We believe the goal of public policy is to bring out the best in people. For more information, visit www.eui.eu/en/academic-units/school-of-transnational-governance
About the University of Lucerne Institute of Social Ethics (ISE)
The Institute of Social Ethics ISE undertakes research and teaching in social ethics. This includes scientific reflection on the ethical dimension of social contexts, challenges and issues. Institutions, structures, and systems are the focal point. On this scientific basis, the ISE is a dialogue partner for politics, business, civil society and the media on a local, regional, national, and international level. For more information, visit www.unilu.ch/en/faculties/faculty-of-theology/institutes-and-research-units/institute-of-social-ethics-ise