Competences of team members concerning nuclear war risk

Christoph Benzmüller is a professor of AI at Freie Universität Berlin with a teaching license in mathematics and computer science. Benzmüller’s current research addresses topics such as universal knowledge representation, computational metaphysics, and formal foundations and mechanization of mathematics, in addition to automating normative reasoning and rational argumentation to realize responsible AI systems. Earlier in his career, he has worked at the University of Luxembourg, Stanford University, and Carnegie Mellon University in the US, and Cambridge University, University of Birmingham, and University of Edinburgh in the UK.

Karl Hans Bläsius had already been intensively occupied with the subject of nuclear war by mistake in the 1980s (see Activities in the 1980s). He represented his subject area “knowledge-based systems” (belongs to the field of AI – artificial intelligence) in teaching and research at the Trier University of Applied Sciences. He has gained extensive experience in AI programming in the course of several company start-ups. Computer science and AI play an increasingly important role in early warning systems. Karl Hans Bläsius is co-author of several recent publications on the nuclear war risk (see

Leo Ensel is a conflict researcher and intercultural trainer and has been working for years on different ways of relaxation between East and West. In numerous publications he calls for a “Broad Coalition of Reason” for de-escalation in the New East-West Conflict. Such confidence-building measures are also important in connection with false alarms in early warning systems, since the evaluation of an alarm message can depend decisively on mutual trust. Leo Ensel also knew Stanislaw Petrov personally and visited him in his home near Moscow. Stanislav Petrov’s prudent response to a missile attack report in 1983 may have prevented a nuclear war (see ). Leo Ensel also met Michael Gorbachev twice (most recently in August 2019) and talked to him about nuclear war risks.

Götz Neuneck is Physicist and Senior Research Fellow at the IFSH and Professor at the MIN Faculty at the University of Hamburg. He is an expert in arms control, disarmament, new technologies, nuclear weapons, verification, science diplomacy, missile defence and space armament. Götz Neuneck has experience in government delegations, hearings, reports for the Bundestag and in the context of the UN. He currently coordinates the trilateral Deep Cuts Commission on the Future of Nuclear Arms Control; he is the German representative of AG 4 of the International partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification and leads projects on new technologies and the future of warfare with special emphasis on AI, autonomy and networking.

Markus Patenge is a theologian and one of the authors of the position paper of the German Commission Justitia et Pax “Outlawing Nuclear Weapons as the Start of Nuclear Disarmament”. This position paper uses well-founded arguments to justify why deterrence theory cannot protect us from the use of nuclear weapons in the long term. Markus Patenge represents this position paper as a spokesman to the outside world, also, for example, in discussions with military representatives of NATO. Furthermore, he is a speaker for the area of peace.

Jürgen Scheffran is Physicist and a professor of integrative geography at the University of Hamburg and head of the Research Group “Climate Change and Security” (CLISEC). He is a Principal Investigator with the Cluster of Excellence “Climate, Climatic Change and Society” (CLICCS) and the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN). He worked in interdisciplinary research groups on environmental science, peace and conflict studies at the University of Marburg, the Technical University of Darmstadt, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the University of Paris (Pantheon Sorbonne) and the University of Illinois in the United States. He has contributed to several projects, initiatives and organisations, including the United Nations, the Technology Assessment Bureau of the German Parliament, the German Committee Future Earth (DKN) and the German government commission “Fachkommission Fluchtursachen”.

Uwe Werner Schierhorn examines and lists critical situations with nuclear weapons as a mechanical engineer, i.e. false alarms, accidents and near-disasters. In the “Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik”, the “Atlantische Akademie Rheinland-Pfalz”, the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Wehrtechnik” as well as in the critical soldiers’ forum “Darmstädter Signal”, the lieutenant of the reserve tries to get into conversation with military and political decision makers. As a peace officer for the Protestant Church, he brings young people together with the German Armed Forces and the peace movement. The “Bürgerradio” editor sets priorities in peace and security policy at two local radio stations.

Heinz Schlöder is a retired lieutenant colonel and was a career officer in the German Armed Forces with assignments in various international headquarters.

Jörg Siekmann had already been intensively involved with the subject of nuclear war by accident in the 1980s (see Activities in the 1980s). He is one of the pioneers for the development of AI in Germany and was honored in 2019 by the “Gesellschaft für Informatik” as one of the 10 most influential minds in AI research in Germany. He is co-founder of the DFKI (German Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence). Due to his extensive scientific work in the field of AI he is able to assess limits and possible problems with AI applications in early warning systems very well. Jörg Siekmann is co-author of several recent publications on the nuclear war risk (see

Micheal Staack is a political scientist and Professor of International Relations; since 2006 he has been at Helmut Schmidt University, the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Hamburg. He has held visiting professorships and research stays in the USA, Russia and the People’s Republic of China, among other countries. His main focus is on the analysis of peace-led foreign policy. The peace and conflict researcher has been working for four decades on issues of disarmament and arms control, confidence- and security-building measures and cooperative security in Europe. Today, he is a member of the European Security and Peace Study Group of the Association of German Academics and advises the government of South Korea on the conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Michael Staack is convinced that the lost societal knowledge about the dangers of nuclear war urgently needs to be recreated in view of the intensifying “Great Power Competition”.

Bernhard Taureck is a philosopher and also deals intensively with conflict and war situations, including historical dimensions. In his current book “Drei Wurzeln des Krieges” (“Three Roots of War”) he deals with the essential characteristics of war from a philosophical point of view. From a war-critical perspective, he also deals with current threat situations of terror and the use of nuclear weapons as well as remaining possibilities for conflict avoidance. He fears that war is currently proving to be a resurgent dangerous illusion on the part of human beings.

Ingo J. Timm is a (business) computer scientist with a focus on artificial intelligence. He is researching AI systems in which the human being is in the center of attention and the production & processes follow the rhythm of the human being. Due to his extensive scientific activities in the field of AI but also his responsible activities in expert committees, he is able to assess the limits and possible problems of AI applications in early warning systems very well. He is co-author of recent publications on nuclear war risk. Ingo J. Timm is co-spokesman of the Artificial Intelligence Department of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V., member of the Zukunftsforum Öffentliche Sicherheit e.V., an initiative of members of parliament for members of the German Bundestag, and member of the Ethics Commission of the Senate of the University of Trier.

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