In an open letter, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, leads 116 experts calling for an outright ban of “killer robots.” Leaders in the technology industry are coming together to push the United Nations to prevent the development of harmful weapons.
The initiative is led by Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman, with over 116 experts involved from across 26 countries. Musk is known to show his disapproval for AI and recently debated with Mark Zuckerberg regarding the influence of AI in society.
Of course, there are those who fear AI will develop into something deadly to the extent where human lives will be in severe danger. The letter to the UN was an attempt to prevent that from happening in its earlier stages. The UN recently voted to start discussions about deadly weapons that include drones, automated machine guns, and tanks.
It is no secret that many countries around the world are investing in war supplies, and these items fall into the categories of weaponry being manufacturing in mass. The technology experts reached out to the review conference of the convention of conventional weapons, noting that the arms race prevalent around the world could be the reason for a third world war to occur. We’ve seen glimpses of conflicts regarding nuclear arms with countries like Iran and North Korea, and the United States could be the country that gets targeted the most.
In the letter, they specifically addressed the issue of lethal autonomous weaponry with the following excerpt:
“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… We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”
Morality comes into question when handling autonomous weapons, and technology giants are evidently concerned about the world’s well-being if countries continue to compete in the arms race.