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Home > News > Industry News > UN: Please ban autonomous kill.....

UN: Please ban autonomous killing machines

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2017-08-21
An open letter signed by 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries urges the United Nations to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons internationally.

Signatories include:
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX and OpenAI (USA)
Mustafa Suleyman, founder and head of applied AI at Google’s DeepMind (UK)
Esben Østergaard, founder and CTO of Universal Robotics (Denmark)
Jerome Monceaux, founder of Aldebaran Robotics, makers of Nao and Pepper robots (France)
Jürgen Schmidhuber, deep learning expert and founder of Nnaisense (Switzerland)
Yoshua Bengio, deep learning expert and founder of Element AI (Canada)

Toby Walsh, Professor of artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales, released the letter at the opening of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2017) in Melbourne.

The letter states:

Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they 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. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.

“The open letter is the first time that AI and robotics companies have taken a joint stance on the issue. Previously, only a single company, Canada’s Clearpath Robotics, had formally called for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons,” said the University of New South Wales.

In December 2016, 123 member nations of the UN’s Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons unanimously agreed to begin formal discussions on autonomous weapons. Of these, 19 have already called for an outright ban.

“Nearly every technology can be used for good and bad, and artificial intelligence is no different,” said Walsh. “It can help tackle many of the pressing problems facing society today: inequality and poverty, the challenges posed by climate change and the ongoing global financial crisis. However, the same technology can also be used in autonomous weapons to industrialise war.