The idea of robots, the intelligent machines that can do our work for us always fascinated people. With major companies investing in robotics, AI, and how to apply these modern AI machines in different fields of life significantly improved technology and its application in last few years.
But are we moving in the right direction? Apparently not, at least for major AI companies, top tech experts and scientists like Stephen Hawkings.
At the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence on Monday that was held in Melbourne, tech experts, scientists, and representatives of all major tech and AI companies urged United Nations to ban the development of weaponry and machines like killer robots based on artificial intelligence before it is too late.
In an open letter to the UN, the participants including Elon Musk from Tesla urged UN to use its influence to halt the development of killer robots. According to the 116 robotics and AI experts who wrote this letter, these robot killers are the third revolution in warfare. If used, they can cause destruction on the scale that was never experienced in the history.
In 2015, after the same conference, that first took place in 1969 and since then become a regular event, more than 1000 tech experts wrote a similar letter to the UN. Stephen Hawkings at that time warned about the dangers associated with AI if applied in warfare.
According to the latest letter, “Once this Pandora’s Box is opened, it will be hard to close.”
The letter demands that the morally wrong AI technology behind killer robots must be added to the list of banned weapons under the UN Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Other prominent named that backed the letter and its demands include AI expert Toby Walsh, Google’s DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, and James Chow of China’s UBTECH.
The letter also claimed that these AI killer robots can give birth to armed conflict with such pace that will be difficult for humans to comprehend. The letter also warned against the armed race that is already happening among countries like the US, UK, and Russia.
The content of the letter is more than alarming. We already have watched our fair share of Hollywood movies like Matrix that presented AI as a cause for mankind’s doom. Is this really happening? Is our worst fear becoming a reality? We have to wait and see how UN will respond to this letter and if military giants like US and Russia refrain from using AI when developing new weapons.