AI And Robotic Specialists Warned The United Nations About The Danger Of Autonomous Weapons


OpenAI, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has been vocal about the threats of AI.

He joins more than one hundred artificial intelligence and robotic specialist in signing up an open letter to urge the United Nations to recognize the dangers autonomous weapons could do, and to ban their use internationally.

The letter was released at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2017) in Melbourne.

Although direct threats from AI and robots weren't clearly seen at the moment, Musk and with the likes of Google's DeepMind founder Mustafa Suleyman and Alderan Robotics' Jerome Monceaux are concerned that in the future, these types of weapons can pose more threats than benefits.

According to some experts, the fields of AI and robotics are both advancing so fast that the reality of a war of humans using autonomous weapons and vehicles could be upon us in a matter of years, rather than decades.

It's crucial that governments know how drastically these technologies could affect war.

Predator drone firing missile

Adding to the danger, not just the military are in dangers of using such weaponry. Civilians can also be targets. And what's more, if those devices do come in existence, there is a chance that they could be hacked and further misused, or even fall into the wrong hands. Like for example being used by terrorists and such.

As of 2017, there are already numerous weapons that use some sorts of automation. They include: anti-aircraft guns, tanks and armed drones. All of these weapons can operate with minimal human supervision and can accomplish their task very well.

Advances in both AI and robotics technologies will only help those weapons to function entirely autonomously.

Combat robot

If governments are allowed to build and stockpile autonomous weapons untouched by any law, this could lead to AI and robotic experts to be drawn into creating killer robots. Altering the current use of AI as an assistant of humans in daily lives.

According to Yoshua Bengio, founder of Element AI that also signed the open letter:

"I signed the open letter because the use of AI in autonomous weapons hurts my sense of ethics, would be likely to lead to a very dangerous escalation, because it would hurt the further development of AI’s good applications, and because it is a matter that needs to be handled by the international community, similarly to what has been done in the past for some other morally wrong weapons (biological, chemical, nuclear)."