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Musk tries to avoid Judgment Day by calling for a ban on killer-robots
Mon, 21st Aug 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Elon Musk, among 116 other technology leaders, is calling for a complete ban on killer-robots.

In an open letter to the United Nations Musk calls for a ban on all autonomous weaponry.

This ban would include drones, remote-tanks and giant mechs.

The letter says, “As companies building the technologies in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics that may be repurposed to develop autonomous weapons, we feel especially responsible in raising this alarm.

“We warmly welcome the decision of the UN's Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) to establish a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems.

“Many of our researchers and engineers are eager to offer technical advice for deliberations.

This letter comes after Musk and Mark Zuckerberg got into a heated twitter debate over the dangers of AI.

There has been a widespread debate about the morality of unmanned weapons.

As well as the moral debate there are also security reasons to be sceptical of unmanned weapons.

Though it wouldn't be an easy task, if hackers got access to a country's unmanned weapons it could be disastrous.

The letter continues, “We entreat the High Contracting Parties participating in the GGE to work hard at finding means to prevent an arms race in these weapons, to protect civilians from their misuse, and to avoid the destabilizing effects of these technologies.

“We regret that the GGE's first meeting, which was due to start today (August 21, 2017), has been cancelled due to a small number of states failing to pay their financial contributions to the UN.

“We urge the High Contracting Parties, therefore, to double their efforts at the first meeting of the GGE now planned for November.

The companies behind the open letter believe that this technology has the potential to be as devastating as nuclear weapons.

I understand why, we have all seen Terminator, it's frightening to think that we are moving towards a world where that technology is real.

Now, I know Terminator is a piece of science fiction, yet over the past decade sci-fi technology has rapidly become science reality.

The letter saying, “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare.

“Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought on a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.

“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.

I for one am not a fan of the future this letter predicts, yet I also think the ban is very unlikely.

The US invests billions every year into its military and drones are a massive part of that investment.

Thus, I doubt development in the robotic warfare will slow down anytime soon.