CNTR Tech Trend Lab 2024

Second CNTR Tech Trend Lab: Workshop at PRIF with Participants from Research and Practice

07. May 2024

On May 2 and 3, the second CNTR Tech Trend Lab took place at PRIF in Frankfurt. In four panels, scholars and practitioners discussed current developments in the natural and technical sciences and resulting challenges and opportunities for arms control.

The first panel, Scientific and Technological Developments and Biological Weapons Control – Genetic Attribution and Verification of the BWC, featured Silke Bellmann, Deputy Head of Division OR 12 of the German Federal Foreign Office, and Dr. Kadri Reis, member of CNTR’s research group “Chemical and Biological Weapons Control”. Chaired by Dr. Una Jakob, Co-Head of the same research group, participants discussed which opportunities genetic attribution poses for verification of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and what the current limitations of genetic attribution are.

The second panel, Scientific and Technological Developments and Chemical Weapons Control - The Role of Artificial Intelligence, opened with a presentation by Dr. Anna Krin, researcher at the University of Hamburg, and was chaired by Prof. Dr. Peter R. Schreiner, PhD, Co-Head of CNTR's research group “Chemical and Biological Weapons Control”. Among other things, the panel discussed how large language models could help with designing new drugs and chemical warfare agents, with a special focus on the limitations of artificial intelligence, for example when it comes to AI-suggested pathways for chemical synthesis 

The third panel, Human Enhancement/Human Augmentation, brought together Dr. Niklas Schörnig, Co-Head of CNTR's research group “Emerging Disruptive Technologies” and Prof. Dr. Stefan Sammito from the Centre for Aerospace Medicine of the German Air Force/University of Magdeburg. Current challenges in the field of Human Enhancement/Augmentation were discussed, such as ethical issues in the use of Human Enhancement/Augmentation in warfare, accountability issues of explainable Human Enhancement/Augmentation, as well as legal challenges of its use and possible implications on International Law and Human Rights Law. The panel was moderated by CNTR researcher Liska Suckau.

The workshop closed with the fourth panel, Quantum Technology, which featured Prof. Dr. Mariami Gachechiladze, associate professor at the Technical University of Darmstadt, and Prof. Dr. Markus Gräfe, head of the research group “Experimental Solid State Quantum Optics" at the Technical University of Darmstadt. The panel discussed current challenges and possibilities of quantum technology for warfare and arms export control, and was chaired by CNTR researcher Dr. Thomas Reinhold.

The CNTR Tech Trend Labs are held annually at the locations of the Research and Transfer Cluster starting in 2023 and, in addition to exchange and networking, also serve in preparation of the CNTR Monitor.

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