Founders of leading robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) companies from 26 countries have, in an open letter to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), called for an international treaty to ban killer robots.
Killer robots or autonomous weapons can identify and attack a target with no human intervention. They include armed quadcopters and drones where humans are not making the decisions, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones.
The 2017 letter, signed by 116 top AI founders, is the brainchild of Toby Walsh, professor of AI at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Released during the opening of the 3-day (21-23 August) International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2017), the letter was to have coincided with the first meeting of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, now rescheduled for November.
The letter is a joint stance against the “third revolution” after gunpowder and nuclear arms. Among those who signed include Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX and OpenAI; and Mustafa Syleyman, founder and head of Applied AI at Google’s DeepMind.
The letter states: ‘As companies building the technologies in AI and Robotics that may be repurposed to develop autonomous weapons, we feel especially responsible for raising this alarm. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought on a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.’
What do you think? Should AI weapons be banned before they are created? Or are they the inevitable evolution of technological warfare? As always let us know your thoughts in the comments below and for all your toy, tech and gaming news, find it here daily at clubit.tv