On the one hand this is terrifying, on the other hand, fans of science fiction will be excited to know that we are at a point where the world’s leading innovators in science and technology are seriously concerned about the advent of artificial intelligence that could be used for military purposes, leading to a Terminator doomsday type scenario. Damn, and you thought Terminator Genisys was bad news.
Over 1000 experts on artificial intelligence have signed an open letter calling for an international ban on development of AI used for autonomous weapons. While today’s drones are controlled remotely by a human operator they fear that a day is quickly approaching where drones and other military systems could be making the decision to take human life. My toaster doesn’t even know how to not burn my toast; let’s not give these things flamethrowers.
Technology leaders including SpaceX/ Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking were part of the co-signers of the letter which is to be presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week. They say that if one nation developed a military offensive AI it would kick off a new artificial intelligence arms race.
The letter says in part;
The letter states: “AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous weapons] is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.”
Some countries including the United Kingdom are already opposing efforts to ban new weapons systems known as LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems) that can launch attacks without human orders or intervention. Defensive systems that can deflect incoming missiles are already a thing, but a weapon that could decide to launch an attack on its own would be a new and terrifying prospect. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have commented in the past that Artificial Intelligence could be mankind’s greatest existential threat. Welp, I guess if we are going to go out, killer robots are a pretty cool way to go. Do you agree?
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