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Leaders Send Open Letter to the UN Warning of “Killer Robots”

22 August 2017

File this under future nightmare fuel.

A host of executives, researchers and leaders of various communities have issued an open letter to the United Nations hoping to put a tether on the development of lethal autonomous weapon systems.

The group welcomes the UN’s establishment of a group of governmental experts (GGE) on lethal autonomous weapon systems and are offering their advice on how to proceed.

The group seeks to find a means to prevent an arms race with these weapons in order to protect civilians from misuse and to avoid the destabilization effects these robotic technologies could bring.

The open letter states that robotic weapons could become a third revolution in warfare and that once developed it will permit armed conflict on a greater scale than ever before. They believe the weapons could be used by despots or terrorists against civilians or be vulnerable to hacking in ways to cause harm around them.

Finally, the letter concludes that once the “Pandora’s box” is opened, it will be hard to close, so they urge the UN group to act quickly.

Those that have signed the letter include Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX; Demis Hassabis (CEO) and Mustafa Suleyman (head of applied AI), founders of DeepMind; Silar Adekunle, founder and CEO of Reach Robotics; Igor Kuznetsov, founder and CEO of Russia’s NaviRobot and many more.

To contact the author of this article, email Peter.Brown@ieeeglobalspec.com


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