It’s the stuff of science fiction: machines that make decisions about who and when to kill. Referred to as “autonomous weapons”, they’re already in use to some degree. But as more sophisticated systems are being developed we wanted to an expert in the field about whether such systems comply with international humanitarian law and what it means for humanity to give machines the power over human life and death.
“When you mention the word engineer, the local communities immediately think that a man will show up,” says Mary Hkawn Tsin, an engineer with the ICRC’s team in Kachin State. In this richly colorful video and article, Mary takes deep into the hills of her home state of Kachin, where she aspires to use her expertise as an engineer to help her region develop and thrive despite often great challenges.
As one of the 19 women engineers working for the ICRC in Myanmar, Mary is part of the water and habitat team based in Myitkyina, Kachin State. While Myanmar boasts near parity when it comes to the gender breakdown of engineering jobs, Mary says being a woman in this sector does confront some people’s expectations and stereotypes. But that makes the satisfaction of seeing clean, safe water flow, after long treks and difficult engineering feats, even more satisfying. “I work with total confidence and make sure to give 100 per cent and more,” she says with a smile.