Elon Musk joins 116 experts calling for ban on "killer robots"

By midian182 ยท 18 replies
Aug 21, 2017
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  1. Elon Musk has long been a proponent for the regulation of artificial intelligence, calling it humanity’s “biggest existential threat,” and “more dangerous than North Korea.” Now, the Tesla boss has joined Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman and a group of 116 experts in signing a letter to the UN that expresses their concerns over AI. It calls for a ban on the development and use of all autonomous weapons, aka killer robots.

    The open letter’s signatories, which includes founders of AI and robotics companies, warn that the technology could follow gunpowder and nuclear arms to become the “third revolution in warfare.”

    "Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at 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," explains the letter.

    "We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora's box is opened, it will be hard to close."

    The letter goes on to call lethal autonomous weapons systems “morally wrong,” and recommends they join the list of weapons banned under the UN’s convention on certain conventional weapons, which bans or restricts the likes of chemical incendiaries and blinding lasers.

    A CCW Review Conference was scheduled to begin formal discussions on autonomous weapons today, but the meeting has been postponed until November.

    A similar open letter calling for a ban on “offensive autonomous weapons” was also signed by Musk back in 2015. Professor Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky, and Steve Wozniak added their names to the document, which prompted the UN to begin talks on the subject.

    Lethal autonomous weapons able to identify and engage targets without human intervention are currently being developed by a number of countries, with some already being used in the field. Samsung’s SGR-A1 sentry gun, which is deployed along the Korean Militarized zone, reportedly has autonomous firing capabilities.

    While speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month, the second highest-ranking general in the US army – Gen. Paul Selva – said: "I don't think it's reasonable for us to put robots in charge of whether or not we take a human life."

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,279

    I couldn't agree with Musk and the signatories more. Something is bound to go horribly wrong.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,867   +1,258

    I still want to make Mega Man a reality ;P
    lostinlodos likes this.
  4. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Guru Posts: 355   +351

    Seems rather alarmist.

    Be more worried if North Korea were working on a Kim Jong-il bot since they had saved his personality onto a floppy disk before he died. He was already half computer anyway, his favourite word was 'execute'
    lostinlodos likes this.
  5. AntiShill

    AntiShill TS Booster Posts: 190   +48

    A Ban like this will never have the enforcement teeth needed. The reason nuclear ban works to a degree is because everyone knows once the nukes fly everyone is going to be dead on all sides, and the nations that have nukes that have the power is able to some degree impose the restrictions, but one only needs to see North Korea to know that it is NOT working that well.

    The answer to killer robots, is the killer robot killer (robot or otherwise). This will be the new arms race. A ban will not get compliance from all the parties, only set back the parties that actually obey and follow the ban. Just like how the U.S., the Brits did NOT have super battleships like the way the Germans had with the Bismark and the Japanese had the Yamato.
  6. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +288

    The facebook ai stopped using english because it was inefficient, what happens when killer robots see us as inefficient?
  7. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,976   +1,281

    Uh - maybe they'll suggest ways to reduce our traffic jams? Or maybe make self-cleaning toilets.. or maybe they'll improve study techniques.

    There are literally thousands of ways to improve human efficiency, why do people think death is the first thing computers will think of. Because Hollywood says so?
    AntiShill likes this.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,657   +3,115

  9. Jack007

    Jack007 TS Booster Posts: 186   +44

    Skynet is inevitable. The real question is whether robots similar to robocop will come along at the same time to even out the balance and save humanity
    lostinlodos likes this.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,657   +3,115

    Maybe it will be a benevolent dictator. We could name him, 'Alfred Ignatius Claus'.

    (Gee, I hope to god I don't get women's groups down on me for saying Skynet will be a male).

    He'll know when we are sleeping, he'll know when we're awake, He'll know if we've been bad or good, and could laser us to smithereens , so be good for goodness sake.

    Anyway, the first thing I'll ask for for AI's birthday, ("Claus-mas"), is a robo-tart, with black fishnet stockings, auburn red hair, and programmed without a shred of common decency or shame! (y)
    lostinlodos and Boilerhog146 like this.
  11. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Evangelist Posts: 602   +211

    No wonder your Cranky,Not getting much in the senior years huh.?
    I do hope you get your ROBO-TART.we should all have one .stashed in the DOG-HOUSE.
    captaincranky likes this.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,657   +3,115

    At least I have the, "I'm getting old" excuse, I can fall back on for not getting any... Many young-ling nerds don't get any either, without excuses to hide behind
    Ah, I frequented the dog house quite often in my younger days. In fact every time my ex wife had to wash my clothes..:oops: I tried boxers and briefs, but after washday, I met with the same spousal ostracism.

    Anyway, when I became an (old) man, I put away such childish things, and started living with my pet cats. (You know there's a punchline coming, right)? So now, I suppose it's fair to say, 'I live in a cat house'.

    Thus now begins the old lament, 'water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink'.
  13. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Maniac Posts: 298   +117

    Many people today are acting like robots such as college kids programmed by progressive universities.
    lostinlodos likes this.
  14. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos TS Booster Posts: 135   +22

    Skynet is unstoppable. The question is until the computers take over and slaughter us should governments have control of killer ai or should billy pop in his backyard.
    And on that actual question I have no good answer!
  15. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,857   +495

    Are you an expert in the field? These people are actively working in this field. These questions are part of their job. It's their job to know if it's a problem or not. They are extremely intelligent people.

    What person looks at 116 field experts and disregards their advice? On something as potentially dangerous as automated/remote killing devices?
  16. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos TS Booster Posts: 135   +22

    Rational people who don't bow down and quake at every end of the world sky is falling statement.
    Vulcanproject likes this.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,657   +3,115

    You realize a floppy disc only holds 144 KB, right?
  18. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,857   +495

    Didn't say bow down. But I did say you don't fob it off like it's nothing. I think if the experts give advice like "we should do something about this" it's stupid to respond "hurr durr let's do nothing".
  19. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos TS Booster Posts: 135   +22

    Totally wrong respond
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017

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