Letter from Secretary-General of IELMUN 2017
Dear Delegates and Distinguished Guests,
The last century has provided us, among other things, with vast developments in various fields of science and technology, and data processing is no exception to it. The early days of the 21st century has seen the emergence of the Internet and the ever-expanding availability of personal computers; thus, it has been much easier to capture big sets of data. The advancement of the interdisciplinary cooperation took the analysis and processing technologies to a level no one could have foreseen in the recent past. The records of the activities in the public and private sectors are no longer written in big logs, but gathered by and archived in super-computers. Every search on the Internet, every interaction in the cyber domain is constantly reprocessed. Whether you are willingly publishing specks from your daily life on the social media, or just casually taking a train to your workplace, your lives are not that private anymore, as they are recorded by complex corporate algorithms or surveillance cameras installed at every corner.
The product of this new intricate way of data processing is taking our society further in the means of agriculture, healthcare, production, trade and of course, security. But if a curious eye looks at the other side of the coin, it will recognize the challenges, which were already present in a lesser magnitude, long before our current extending familiarity with these technologies. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” famously said Benjamin Franklin, in an era when presidents were still not on Twitter. Yet, a deeper dive into the political history might produce the conclusion, that the state, which was designed in the first place to protect its people’s freedoms from, both foreign and domestic, common enemies and which holds the monopoly of security over its people, is in many cases regarded as the culprit of the undermining of these very freedoms.
Thousands of years of civilization and many Aristotles, Lockes, Marxs and Chomskys past, the question of liberties versus securities is still unresolved. In addition, it feels as if this question becomes more relevant and more alien at the same time. As the online trade grew with the invention of Bitcoins, so did illegal underground marketplaces on the so called deep web. As we have installed satellites on the orbit, now we discuss weaponizing them, while big brands such as Amazon uses the drones, whose cousins are conducting manhunts in more than 20 countries around the world, to deliver us our orders. We see AIs’ being shut down because they have developed their own, unintelligible language. When you are signing an online petition to achieve a positive social change, the ISIS might be making a fresh recruitment on the same servers.
In order to put all into perspective, we can say we truly live “in an era of big data and global conflicts”. With this realization in mind, you will get the chance to discuss both the future of the technology and the technologies of the future in the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, while you can also debate the universally controversial concept of the state, its applications of these technologies and its crisis in the General Assembly. For understanding the crisis of today’s liberal and democratic state, you might take a journey back to the Thatcher era to revisit its creation. The crisis of the modern nation state is often attributed to the populist backlashes, which are constantly fed by fears of war, terror and massive migrations caused by the military confrontations around the globe.
The Arab League will focus on the hotter of the conflicts in the Middle East such as the Yemen War and the Security Council will tackle the colder one: nuclearization of the North Korea. You will also have the chance to explore the hottest episode of the coldest war in the Joint Crisis Committee, by taking sides at the onset of the Korean War. All the while, the Economic and Social Council will deal with the humanitarian side of these challenges ranging from the spread of contagious diseases as the World Health Organization warns of the worst cholera outbreak in Yemen and the migrant crises all around the world, which are the side products of many confrontations such as the War on Drugs in Mexico, or the multitude of wars in the Middle East and East Asia.
While debating on these issues, making thought-provoking speeches and discussing possible solutions through many layers of diplomacy, my hope is that you will take notice of the conjuncture of this era of big data and global conflicts and not forget to weigh the right to privacy and national security against each other. I am confident that our teams are working their hardest to give you a memorable time for the entire duration and expect the same resolve from you to tackle the abovementioned questions. I wish you a great MUN experience, and am looking forward to meeting you during the conference.
Now it's your turn!
Secretary-General of IELMUN 2017