UAE drone conference warns of rising terror threat

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UAE defence minister Al Bowardi has called on allies for unity in order prevent the use of drones from threatening civilian safety and destroying economic institutions, reports Asian Lite News

The United Arab Emirates has warned of the rising threat of drone attacks in the region and called on allies to double the efforts to confront the growing challenge posed by the terrorists.

“”There is a considerable danger posed by the fact that drones have become a weapon preferred by terrorist groups to their low cost of production, efficiency, effectiveness, and ease of procurement, particularly if there are regimes and countries sponsoring them,” said UAE Defence Minister Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, in his opening speech during the inauguration of Unmanned Systems Conference 2022 in Abu Dhabi.

The fifth edition of the conference that accompanies UMEX & SimTEX exhibitions 2022 kicked off on Sunday under the theme is “Unmanned, Unbound: Realising The Promise of The Unmanned Revolution.”

“Drones can play a number of roles associated with traditional fighter planes, like monitoring, reconnaissance, and aerial attacks, so their use is starting to affect the concepts of credo of aerial operations and defence,” Al Bowardi said.

“Despite the scientific and technological advances that unmanned systems represent, they also entail unprecedented threats and challenges, which is why we must double our efforts to protect international legitimacy and realize international peace and security, and to work together to keep the wheel of progress and prosperity moving forward for the sake of our future generations by elevating our creativity to confront challenges, foster trust and awareness in human interaction with smart machines, and make the right decisions in this unmanned age,” he added.

The conference, organised by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Defence, brings together intellectual leaders, high-level officials, and academic figures from all over the world, with 2,000 experts and specialists participating in person and virtually.

The conference includes four seminars featuring 22 high-level speakers from across the world, including ministers, leaders, and innovators, who will be discussing several topics and issue related to the unmanned systems sector.

The seminars will focus on four main themes, which are Understanding the Changing Unmanned Landscape, Facilitating Trust and Understanding: Human-Machine Teaming and Decision-Making in the Unmanned Age, Optimising Innovation: Overcoming Adoption and Integration Challenges, and Unmanned Systems and the 4IR: How Technology is Shaping Future Capabilities.

In his opening speech, Bowardi welcomed the participating delegations to Abu Dhabi, saying: “Unmanned systems and drones have become synonymous with the real and unprecedented technological revolutions that is putting the future in our hands, and in the UAE, they are a main pillar for achieving the vision of our wise leadership’s vision represented in the Principles of 50 which are based on building the best and highest-growing economy in the world, and strengthen the positive reputation and global stature of the UAE.

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“This strategic conference is being organised today in spite of the global challenges and exceptional circumstances in the region sheds light on the capabilities and resources of the UAE, emphasising its pivotal role in enhancing the security and stability of the region, and its efforts for moving forward with developing its advanced technology system to build deterring power, and a security and defence sector that achieves tranquillity and peace,” he added.

Meanwhile, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Teleworking Applications commented, “Today more than ever, we understand the importance of safeguarding our nations by ensuring that these technologies are tools that we can use other than tools that be used against us. But as with all tools throughout history, and with all technologies that has been advanced, we realise as well that they’re not perfect.”

Speaking of the challenges the unmanned systems pose, Al Olama said, these systems are much cheaper and accessible than ever before. “At that accessibility, it allows for these systems to fall into the hands of the people that we do not want them to get in the hands of, terrorist groups that can use to terrorise civilians and to impact the global system in a negative way,” he said.

“When these systems are deployed with artificial intelligence, have one major disadvantage, which is the fact that they use historical data to plan for the future, so we need to consistently keep the human in the loop. The final challenge is what we are moving into a world of have and have-nots, and that world is going to create a world of discrepancy that might lead people to extremes to ensure that they are still relevant in the battlefield.”