President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, delivered the opening address at the beginning of a high-level discussion, organised by the Diplo Foundation, entitled ‘Emerging technologies: Preparing diplomats for 2030 and beyond’ during the Conference entitled ‘The Future of Diplomacy: Between continuity and change.’
The questions under discussion involved the role of emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, and how best can we prepare ourselves for the future.
The President shared her belief that these topics are central to what it means to be human; to have a human identity; to live within an ethical community of individuals; and how to interact in increasingly complex webs of technological inter-dependence.
“It is my firm conviction that all of our efforts, whether in the social, economic, political, or diplomatic spheres, must be directed towards promoting, establishing, and maintaining a deep-rooted spirit of cooperation and peace, for the benefit of all the inhabitants of our world. I believe that artificial intelligence can, and must, be used to achieve positive outcomes, in terms of both building and maintaining positive peace, for all humanity,” President Coleiro Preca said.
The President added that positive peace is not merely the absence of direct conflict and violence, rather, it is the cultural shift, which is needed within our communities and societies, to challenge the status quo, to ensure harmony and the necessary collaborative processes of diplomatic dialogue.
“For this reason,” the President stated, “I believe that the international community should prioritise technologies for peace, and not the development of armaments, used for warfare.”
One basic example of using technology for building peace is translation technology, “which would have seemed impossible a few decades ago, but has now advanced to such a high level of sophistication, that people are able to communicate, efficiently and effectively, with one another.” President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said that this is one simple example of the power that technology has, to connect people together.
Healthy communication, between communities of different nations and cultures, is an essential prerequisite for relationship-building and harmonious co-existence.
President Coleiro Preca said that these, and other tools must be used to improve our chances of nurturing sustainable and positive peace as it is in this way that we can fulfil the most basic raison d’être of diplomacy, which is to facilitate dialogue among the communities, societies, and nations of our world.
The President stated that machines and artificial intelligence can never replace the uniqueness of human beings, however, they can provide invaluable support and essential knowledge, to support and sustain processes of peace.
“So often, in order to achieve peace, we must transcend the limitations of culture, language, and understanding. For this reason, we must continue to promote a sense of unity,” the President concluded.