Experts call on UN to stop proliferation of 'killer robots'
2017-9-4

Scientists from around the world have called for the United Nations (UN) to take action to stop the proliferation of "killer robots."

At the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Melbourne on Monday, technology leaders from around the world congregated at the event, first held in 1969, and requested that the development of weaponry using artificial intelligence be halted as "once this Pandora's Box is opened, it will be hard to close."

As part of this open letter to the UN, the scientists and business leaders, including world-renowned AI expert Toby Walsh, Elon Musk of Tesla, and James Chow of China's UBTECH, called for the use of lethal autonomous weapons, or killer robots, to be outlawed much in the same way as chemical and biological weapons on the battlefield.

 "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," the letter said.

Signed by many of the world's top AI minds, the letter was spearheaded by Walsh, a professor in AI at the University of New South Wales, who told Xinhua recently that he is concerned with what he feels is an "arms race" occurring around the world.

"I'm very worried about the impact that autonomy will have on the battlefields. There's an arms race happening today, you can see the US military, the UK military, the Russian military -- it's a bit of an arms race," Walsh said.

 "It would be a very dangerous, destabilized the world we end up in if we do allow ourselves to fight a war with these sorts of weapons."

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