20th August 2017
Elon Musk and over 100 experts call for outright ban on killer robots
Leaders of top robotics and AI companies have called on the UN to enact a worldwide ban on killer robots.
The letter, whose signatories hail from 26 countries and include Tesla's Elon Musk, reads as follows:
A key organiser of the letter, Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said: "Nearly every technology can be used for good and bad, and artificial intelligence is no different. It can help tackle many of the pressing problems facing society today: inequality and poverty, the challenges posed by climate change and the ongoing global financial crisis. However, the same technology can also be used in autonomous weapons to industrialise war. We need to make decisions today choosing which of these futures we want. I strongly support the call by many humanitarian and other organisations for a UN ban on such weapons, similar to bans on chemical and other weapons."
Ryan Gariepy, founder of Clearpath Robotics, commented: "The number of prominent companies and individuals who have signed this letter reinforces our warning that this is not a hypothetical scenario, but a very real, very pressing concern which needs immediate action. Unlike other potential manifestations of AI, which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability."
Stuart Russell, founder and Vice-President of Bayesian Logic, said: "Unless people want to see new weapons of mass destruction – in the form of vast swarms of lethal microdrones – spreading around the world, it's imperative to step up and support the United Nations' efforts to create a treaty banning lethal autonomous weapons. This is vital for national and international security."
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