Say ‘no’ to killer robots!
That’s the basis for an open letter that over 1,000 robotics experts signed and presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference started on July 25, and will end on July 31.
Some particularly notable signatures in support of the letter include the physicist, Stephen Hawking, the SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, and one of the Apple Co-founders, Steve Wozniak.
The letter states that the thought process behind autonomous weapons and drones is not thorough enough.
For example, AI supporters believe that robots and autonomous weapons will protect the lives of military personnel. However, the letter points out that even if that is true, “offensive weapons that operate on their own would lower the threshold of going to battle and result in greater loss of human life.”
In other words, if humans are not playing some role in the destruction of other humans, then we may not fully recognize that others are dying. If we are too removed from the horrible reality of war, then it may eventually stop seeming so horrible.
Musk, Hawking and Wozniak understand how dangerous that path can be.
The letter states, “the key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting,” since, according to researchers, AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous weapons] is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades.”
The future is upon us, ladies and gentleman, and the human race needs to make a decision. Experts believe that AI arms race will undoubtedly begin as soon as one military power begins creating autonomous weapons. It will be like the atomic bomb, all over again.
But the letter does distinguish autonomous weapons from nuclear warfare with this one key point: AI weapons “require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. …We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity.”
We don’t know too much about robotics, but we can see these experts’ points.
Do you agree with Musk, Hawking and Wozniak? Should we do something to stop the potential arms race for autonomous weapons?