Tech leaders warn against “Pandora’s box” of robotic weapons
“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” warns a letter signed by 116 tech luminaries, including Tesla’s Elon Musk and Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google’s DeepMind.
More than 100 robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) leaders including billionaire Elon Musk are urging the United Nations to take action against the dangers of autonomous weapons, known as “killer robots.”
In an open letter published on Monday, the experts and entrepreneurs from 26 countries called on the UN to ban the development and use of such weapons.
“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” warned the letter signed by 116 tech luminaries, including Telsla chief Musk and Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google’s DeepMind.
“Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at times scales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter read.
“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”
They added, “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”
The letter was published on the same day the first meeting was to be held of the UN’s recently established Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems.
According to the letter, that meeting was cancelled “due to a small number of states failing to pay their financial contributions to the UN.”
Critics have long argued that the UN is taking too long to address the potential threat. In 2015, thousands of researchers, entrepreneurs and interested persons launched an appeal to ban autonomous weapons.