Efforts to end armed conflict through mediation are increasingly shaped by Digital Technologies. While peacemaking is traditionally understood as a human-centered activity, mediators need to grapple with the rising relevance of machines, including Artificial Intelligence (AI). Negotiations are increasingly supplemented with online activities, which produce large amounts of data that cannot be sufficiently analyzed using conventional means. Building on recent advances in the analysis of online participation processes, and specifically argument and opinion mining, this project aims to explore the opportunities and challenges of AI-applications in peacemaking. It asks how AI could be applied to better understand the dynamics between violent and non-violent forms of negotiation and under which conditions these can lead to a peaceful political settlement. We will first analyze the practical needs and potential strategic purposes of AI in mediation support, as well as the organizational and technological ecosystems in which AI tools would be embedded. The project will then explore which methodological and data requirements AI have to fulfill, particularly in regards to the transparency of inference methods. Finally, the project will ask which data visualization techniques might be employed to integrate AI-outputs into the workflows and decision making processes of mediation teams.
This project is funded by a Planning Grant by the Artificial Intelligence and the Society of the Future Initative of the Volkswagen Foundation.