Elon Musk is leading 116 “experts” around the globe to petition the United Nations for an all out ban on killer robots. Musk, along with others like Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman, demand the ban to prevent a third “age of war.”
Musk has been outspoken about the dangers of artificial intelligence and robotics for years, and now his fear is leading to him to demand that killer robots be banned. Specialists from 26 countries around the globe have joined Musk and Suleyman in calling for the ban on autonomous weapons.
The United Nations is scheduled to vote on the ban on these weapons as well. They recently voted to begin formal discussions on such weapons which include drones, tanks, and automated machine guns. Ahead of this, the group of founders of AI and robotics companies sent an open letter to the UN calling for it to prevent the arms race that is currently underway for killer robots. Those who signed off on the letter assure that these robots will bring about “third revolution in warfare” after gunpowder and nuclear arms.
Of course, the UN and governments will surely still be allowed to destroy people with tanks and killer robots. When has authority ever restricted itself? Nonetheless, in the letter, the experts wrote:
“Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at 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.
“We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.” –The Guardian
According to Human Rights Watch, more than a dozen countries, (including the United States, China, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and Britain) are currently developing autonomous weapons systems and Musk has repeatedly warned of the perils of artificial intelligence. He has been saying for years that it’s “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” As tensions seem to be heading to a boiling point over North Korea, Musk weighed in once again, saying AI poses “vastly more risk” than Kim Jong Un’s regime on Twitter.
If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea. pic.twitter.com/2z0tiid0lc
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
But Musk isn’t the only expert who wants the UN to ban killer robots. Toby Walsh, an Australia-based professor who helped organize the letter, warned that artificial intelligence can “be used in autonomous weapons to industrialize war.” He urged a UN ban on killer robots similar to the one on chemical weapons.
Although this isn’t a major concern just yet, several countries are on the verge of having these types of weapons and many believe a UN ban is the solution to the problem.
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