While there are many benefits to artificial intelligence and robots that can do just about anything humans can do, technology leaders from around the globe are urging the United Nations to ban lethal autonomous weapon systems, which “threaten to become the third revolution in warfare.”
The UN will start formal discussions on autonomous weapons like drones, tanks, and automated machine guns this November, that will establish a “Group of Governmental Experts,” or GGE from various countries.
Beware autonomous weapons
Before those talks, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Mustafa Suleyman of Alphabet’s DeepMind, and more than 100 other big names in the fields of artificial intelligence end robotics have written an open letter to the UN’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons asking that world leaders figure out how to keep killer robots from becoming a reality.
The group writes that once developed, robotic killing machines “will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.”
For example, weapons of terror could be used against innocent people, or hacked to behave in “undesirable ways,” the group writes.
“We do not have long to act,” the letter urges. “Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close. We therefore implore the High Contracting Parties to find a way to protect us all from these dangers.”
The robots are coming
The idea of artificial intelligence threatening humans isn’t a new one. In recent years, Musk has weighed in on the idea of a possible robot revolution. In 2015, he announced he’d be giving $10 million to help fund non-profit research on artificial intelligence safety.
And more recently, Musk said he thinks we’ll probably need to merge with machines somehow if we want to stay relevant.