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Bringing Awareness to Digital Dehumanization

United efforts—The “Automated by Design” exhibition was launched in New York, Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Alexander Bitar.

NEW YORK—The “Automated by Design” exhibition was launched on Oct. 13 to deepen understanding around autonomous weapons systems and the wider issue of digital dehumanization stemming from artificial intelligence (AI). The event—co-organized by Stop Killer Robots (SKR), Amnesty International and the SGI—brought together diplomats, U.N. officials and representatives of civil society organizations  and took place during the U.N. General Assembly First Committee focused on disarmament and international security. 

The exhibition’s overarching theme, “digital dehumanization,” refers to the reduction of human beings into data points and pixels. Facial recognition systems failing to accurately distinguish between two similar-looking individuals could lead to mistaken arrests if used in criminal investigations. Without human medical professionals, AI could give incorrect and potentially life-threatening diagnoses. And at the extreme of these examples are autonomous weapons, which could indiscriminately take the lives of many people.

By presenting the history of autonomous weapons and its dangers—including, but not limited to, a lack of accountability for mistakes, the potential to target racial and ethnic groups and wartime actions taken devoid of context and discernment—the exhibition sought to make clear how these issues affect our everyday life.

At the event’s opening, Arda Awais from Identity 2.0, the studio involved in the exhibition’s production, explained their decision to avoid a futuristic presentation of AI, saying in part, “When you do that you make the problem seem far away, but actually, the problem is right now.”

Representatives from the co-organizers then spoke, including the new director of the SGI Office of Peace and Global Issues, Tomohiko Aishima, who touched on the SGI’s commitment to respecting the lives of all people and striving for lasting peace at the grassroots level. Isabelle Jones, of SKR, concluded by saying: “We hope that [this exhibition] can spark questions and conversation, and provide an entry point for people to really connect with this issue and why it matters to them, and why we should all be working together to take action to regulate autonomous weapons.”

The organizers plan to tour the exhibition worldwide to bring urgency to this issue at the grassroots level.

—Prepared by World Tribune staff. Marissa Wong contributed to this article.

To learn more about Stop Killer Robots, visit

December 1, 2023, World Tribune, p. 4

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