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Sensing and Shaping Emerging Conflicts

500 Fifth Street, NwNOTICE: This publication has been reviewed according to procedures approved by theprocess, Publication of signed work signifiesuseful contribution worthy of public consideration, bof Engineering The interpretations and conclusions in such publicatiothe authors and do not purport to present the views of the council, officers, or staff of theNational Academy of engineerinThe roundtable on technology sd Peacebuilding, thewhich this report is based, is supported by funding from the US Department of DeferDDM-3663-1) Qualcomm, National Science Foundation(ENG-1136841), US Departent of Agriculture (59-0790-2-058, US

Department of State, and CRDF Global Anypinions, findingsarticipantsInternational Standard Book number 13: 978-0-309286Copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street NW,Keck360,WashingtonDc20001;(888)624-8373or(202)334-3313;onlineatwwwnapeduCopyright 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences All rights reservedPrinted in the United States of America

Introduction and themesT三logy has revolutionized many aspects of modern life, from howesses operate, to how people get information, to how countriesCertain technologies in particular, includihe Internet but also satellites drones and sensors of variouskinds, are transforming the work of mitigating conflict and building peacethef digital technoldevices in the hands of most of theorld s population These technologies enable one-to-one and one-to-manof informationg people in conflict settings to individualsdde those settings and, conversely, linking humanitarianorganizations to people threatened by violence

Communications withingroups have also intensified and diversified as the group members use newtechnologies to exchange text, images, video, and audio Monitoring andconflict or developmens be used to gated In this way technologies and theence caprevented ord analyzeOn October 11, 2012, the National Academy of Engineering(NAE)andthe United States Institute of Peace(USIP) held a workshop in WashingtonC, to identify"major opportunities and impediments to providing betterreal-time information to actors directly involved in situations that could lead

SENSING AND Sdeadly violence The workshop brought together experts in technology,d people who have worked at the intersectionsf those two fields on the applications of technology in conflict settingsof technology to sense emerging and ongoing conflictsprovide inforanalyses that can be used to pred deadly conflict

As Fred Tipsondvisor to the roundtable onTechnology, Science, and Peacebuilding(see Box 1-1), asked in his openingRoundtable on sciencey, and Pnghe Workshop on Sensing and Shaping EmeConflicts wasthird of fourives andestablished in 2011 to make a measurable and positive impact on cogether leaders from the technical and peang cprincipal goalscIeogyen peaceand technical organizatiothe problems faced anical capabilities required for successful peacebuilding:3 To collaborate in applying new science and technology to the mostpressing challenges faced by local and internahe first workshop concerned ways to augment agricultural extenion systems to serve the purposeity tohare informationoblems a Theods to think

ⅠNTCTION AND THEMESarks, Where are the opportunities, the sweet spots, in developing nonly the concepts and applications of the technology but the strategies bywhich the information arrived at can be applied for the purposes of intervening to shape the conflict itself?THE ROLE OF INFORMATION IN SENSINGAND SHAPING CONFLICTGy to many probieshaping conflict, has generally followed a simple three-step terworkshop cochair Prabhakar Raghavan, vice president of engineering aGoogle The first step is the gathformation The second is largecale analysis of the data, a science that is still being developed The thirdp is conversion of the insights that result from analysisinformation and transmission of that information to operators and actors inthe field

This broad paradigm may sound too generic, said Raghavan, buthas actually served the field well in maintaining certain critical distinctionsConsideration of the roles that technologieplay in sensing anshaping emergingcomplicated by the great breadthgy and"peacebuilding, said LawrenceNoocher, a research director at sApplicatial Corporation(SAIC) and the other workshop cochair Peacebuilding involvepolitical, diplomatic, social, economic, legal, andty activities Itdertaken by individual actors, local groups, national groups, internationalorganizations, and the private sector It is not just the absence of violence brincludes aspects of positive attributes such as freedom and justice ( Boxompassed by the termNotwithstanding this diversity, Woocher identified several commf informatist, it includesables)a broadeak or escalan of violent conflict, Such information can be critical for actors engagedin peacebuilding, whether they are working globally to identify regions orountries that are at greatest risk or locally to identify which neighborhood,ounty, or province in a country is susceptible to conflictSecond, information for peacebuilding containsof conflict analyIch an analysis yields insightabout the roots of a conflict Who are the actors and groups involved? What

SENSING AND SGING CONFLICTSBox 1-2From the World wide Web to Google eartan affaiation Unit of the US Department of State, provided aersonal perspective on the important changes in technology that haythe past two decades In the mid-1990s, wherUS ACfor International Development, USIP mountednitrateart, by thwhy the 1994 genocide in Rwanda was not anticipated At that time, twoew technologies had just become available: the World Wide Web andtellite imagery The Virtual Diplomacynitiative was designed to explore the degree to which these and othechnologies could influence peacebuilding, conflict preverand earlys evolved to the msocial media, blogs, wikis, and otherions At thew-cost, portable handheld devices have movedfices to the field, inaugurating an era of truly personal and omnipresentg, wase release in 2005 of Google Earth, which helped break the governly on highOther changes have been institutional and cultural In the 1990s,most of the people in government agewhat King termed"geek bureaucrats who wereeir organizations

Since then, a thriving virtual comas emerged ofssues and oputting technologies to workOne thing, however, remains the same as in the 1990s, King saide central problem isdiscussed in chapter 5)" Political will is not an icon on your computerven in the Rwanda case Rwandonals had communicated to outsiders that genocide was being plannede international community simply lacked the political will to acterests, capabilities, and motives? What are the broad trends andontextual factors that affect the conflict?common element involves communication of the informationo the relevant actors--national governments, international organizations,

ⅠNTCTION AND THEMEScommunity groups, and other stakeholders However, local groups may notave the kinds of electronic networks available elsewhere, they may havelevels of technological literacy, they may distrust the sources, andimportantly--they may have motives and agendas that are not peacefulthaon will lead to better behaviors andomes Technology has aaddressing barriersantting information to critical actors in a timely way, Woocher emphasizedbut it can also be used for nefarious purposesARCHETYPAL CHALLENGESWoocher identified four archetypal peacebuilding challenges as a way ofstimulating the thinking of the workshThe first is what he called the early warning problem How can informaion be collected and analyzed in such a way as to identify risks in a timelythe nature of those risks and communicate the results of theout or escalating? Many efforts have focused on ranking countries in termsof their susceptibility to conflict

But the greater challenge is getting information to the local level to help NGOs or local peacebuilding actors dedicatetheir resources most effectively Furthermore, early warnings can be falsearningsForecasts of relatively rare events sometimes result in warningsf conflicts that actually are not likely, even though the warnings can haveerious consequences such as causing people to flee their homes or evenact preemptively in self-defense, Can technology mitigate the negativeconsequences of what might otherwise be an effective early warning systemLiberia, werned about

risks surroundingelections, and investments were madethese risksThe second archetypal prdiatof disputes that could escalate into violent conflict Many past initiatives havesought to bring people together to engage in dialogue and resolve disputesnonviolently Can technology increase the effectiveness of such initiatives? Auseful case study in this regard is Kenya, where text messaging is being usede third type of problem is promoting reconciliation and understandingdentCan techtogether afterto start the process of long-term cooperation? In Sri Lanka, where groups ar

SENSING AND Sextremely divided and traumatized after the country's civil war, some NGOssing technohe fourth problem is that of promoting peaceful change under extremeauthoritarian settings orituations may be very narrow, requiring that activists using strategies ofilize andgether Can technedperative and interactiveidentity groups in such circ? Syriaobvious example of thisproblem, said Woocher, but many other cases existTHEMES OF THE WORKSHOPMultiple broad themes emerged from the presentations and discussions, andSensing as a Prelude to Shaping Thethewhat end? "Only in relto how thesensed information will be used to influence outcomes is it possibltime frame, with whose involvement, and in what formats Similarly,for data acquisition to have value, concrete analysis, disseminationnd action plans are equally important Peacebuilding problrather than technologies themselves must be the drivers of tegical cheipson remarked that"Early warnings

can help people get out of theway, whether or not they change the course of events But the focus still needsto be on how to assist the people engaged in theater to avoid the worst cosequences of potential deadly violence To provide actionable information,aing systelst reduce rather than exacerbate uncertainty Neil levinedirector of the Office of Conflict Manageand mitigateUSAIDbserved " Earldecision makers with the difficulof uncertain information and high costs Sensing can help in this respectbringing clarity to how certain or uncertain information istured examples of several Itc tecltherefore, provides neither a comprehensived recommendations for technological research to fill those gaps,

ⅠNTCTION AND THEMESnailing Values with Strategies All actors in postconflict societiesare motivated by goals in addition to"peace"and nonviolenceSimply eliminating violence, for example, is unlikelylf-sustaining peace peace without justice, peace without progreange Ispeacebuilding intervention, however,NGOs, IOs, and governments need to recognize that not all actorwill have theregarding peacemelanie Greenberg, president and CEO at the Alliance for Peacebuildobserved that mostthe kinds ofsocieties their work advances, Nonviolence is one goal, but their work typally embodies other objectives As a resultained Rafal Rohozinski, arincipal at the SecDev group, direct collaboration is often not realistic without negotiation, compromise, and accommodation without a consciousto link sensing activities to a concrete strategy for change, there is noguarantee that better information will lead to either change3

Prioritizing a Few Key Problems and Sectors Conflict is a highpheabuilding can be madeageable by focusing on recurrent challenges in specific settingOrganizing around a few priority problems and considering the useof technological advances to address specific problems may enablutcomes thate generalized andd more broadly foample, Woocher distinguished four phases as potential settingspeacebuilding: preconflict, midconflict, postconflict, and polNational Democratic Institute, in hiew of election monitoring, highlighted the value of concentrating on particular problemareas, such as export of election data, consolidation in the cloud andremote access, collection and representation of basic political dataand communication of results4 Understanding the larger System The counterpoidinglems mot ignore the social,cultural, and economic context within which they are embeddedsocial and political setting should be gauged so that the outcomes ofchange can be incorporated in a larger change management strategy

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIESAdvisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicinefurtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare Upon theongress in 1863, the Academy has a mandthat requires it to advise the federal gorn scientific and technical matters DrThe National Academy of Engineeriestablished in 1964 under the chartNational Academy of Scienceus in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with theages education and research, and recognizes the superioachievements of engineers Dr Charles M Vest is president of the National AcademyThe Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by thenal Academy ofolicy matters pertaining to the health of the pie acts under the resgiven to the National Academy of Sciences byto the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care,research, and education

Dr Harvey V Finebergof the Institute of MedThe National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in916 to associate the broad commue and technology with the academy'spurposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal gotccordance with general policies determined by the agency of botcademy of Engineering in providing sero thetific and engineering communities The Council is administered jointly by both Acadand the Institute of mediciRalph j Cicerone and Dr Charles M Vest are chairchair, respectively, of the National Research Councilwnational-academies org

UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACEThe United States Institute of Peace is the global conflict managerStates Created by Congress in 1984 to be independent and nonpartisan, the Insgate, and resolve international conflict through nonviolent mperates in the world,'s most challenging conflict zones, and it leads in professional conflicholders, supporting policymakers, and providing public education The Institute translateskills, and resources for policymakers, the USmilitary, government and civilian leaders, nongovernmental organizations, practitioners,The Institute's permanent headquarters and conference center are locatednorthwestthe National Mall in Washington, DC

The facility also houses the Academy forernational Conflict Management and Peacebuilding and the global Peacebuilding CenterUsIp org

WORKSHOP STEERING COMMITTEELawrence Woocher( Cochair), Research Director, Science Applicat&abhakar Raghavan( Cochair), Vice President of Engineering, Goternational CorporationDennis King, Senmanitarian Affairs Analyst, HumInformation Unit, US Department of StateNeil Levine, Director, Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation,SASational developmePatrick Vinck, Research Scientist, Deppulation, Harvard Humanitarian InitiativeDuncan Watts, Principal Researcher, Microsoft ResearchGeneve Bergeron, Research Assistant, US Institute of PeaceSheldon himelfarb

Director, US Institute of peaceProctor P Reid, Director, NAE Program OfficeProgram Officer, US InstFrederick S Tipson, Spedvisor US Institute of peace

KNOWLEDGMENTSAlthough the reviewers listed above provided many constructive commentsnot asked to endorse the views expressed in thereport, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release Theew of thisVenkatesh( Venky)NPeirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Harvard Schoolg and applied sciPublic Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School

Appointed by NAE, hewas responsible for making certain that an independent examinrdance with institutional procedures and thatall review comments were carefully considered Responsibility forcontent of this report rests entirely with the authors and nae

ContentsINTRODUCTION AND THEMESThe Role of Information in Sensing and Shaping Conflict,hetypal Challenges,Themes of the Workshop, 6THE TECHNOLOGICAL POTENTIAIThe Technological CapabilitiesSocial scientist, 13Big Data for Conflict Prevention,Technological Challenges for Peacebuilding, 18Dis203 USES OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE FIELDechnology in Sri Lanka, 274 THE MISUSE OF TECHNOLOGIESforThe New Social Realities of Cyberspace, 36

CONTENTS5 MAJOR ISSUES DISCUSSED AT THE WORKSHOPFrom Sensing to Shaping, 43e role of the private sector

4he Need for Unity 4Looking at the Big Picture for Peacebuilding and Technology, 48Appendixesagenda