Call it the revenge of the CEOs against the revenge of the killer robots.
More than a hundred executives, include Tesla CEO Elon Musk and head of applied AI at Google, Mustafa Suleyman, signed a letter asking a special United Nations panel to consider protections against autonomous weapons.
The robot warfighters would create the next revolution in warfare, the executives say, enabling lightning lethal attacks.
“Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter states.
“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways,” the executives warn. “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”
Musk has long worried about the perils of artificial intelligence evolving far beyond human abilities, leaving their creators behind.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO started another company, Neuralink, to combat the threat. It’s developing human and computer interfaces — think chips implanted into a brain — to merge mortal and cyber abilities.
Military researchers throughout history have sought advancements in lethal weapons. Leonardo da Vinci envisioned a mechanical knight, capable of fighting through a series of cranks and pulleys.
Modern warfare features automatic weapons, drones, and any number of bombs and missiles allowing lethal force to be directed from across the globe. Executives say they’re concerned that several countries are re-purposing AI and robotics technology for military ends.
Human Rights Watch formed a “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots” in 2013, and says that more than a dozen countries, including the U.S., China, Russia and the U.K., are developing autonomous weapon systems.
Executives from artificial intelligence and robotics companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia on Monday released the open letter to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Photo: Tesla CEO Elon Musk listens as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Tags: AI, elon musk, Google, robot, tesla
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