Science & Technology
UN is set to tackle 'killer robots' in 2017
December 28, 2016 | 7 comments
Intelligent machines could pose a threat in the future. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Stephen Bowler
The United Nations will be addressing the threat posed by sophisticated autonomous weapons platforms.
The idea of a world in which intelligent machines can decide for themselves who lives and who dies might sound like the plot of the latest Terminator movie, yet as research in to artificial intelligence moves ever forward, so too does the potential for so-called 'killer robots' - automated weapon systems that can choose who to kill without the need for human intervention.
Last year a coalition of more than 1,000 technology and industry experts came forward to demand that such weapon systems be banned and now it looks as though this may actually happen.
At this month's Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva, 123 separate nations voted to initiate official discussions on the dangers posed by autonomous weapons - a move which should elevate the matter to the point where some sort of formal action can be taken on it.
"China's plans for weapons and artificial intelligence may be terrifying, but no more terrifying than similar efforts by the U.S., Russia, Israel, and others," said campaign co-founder Stephen Goose.
"The key thing distinguishing a fully autonomous weapon from an ordinary conventional weapon, or even a semi-autonomous weapon like a drone, is that a human would no longer be deciding what or whom to target and when to pull the trigger."
"The weapon system itself, using artificial intelligence and sensors, would make those critical battlefield determinations."
"This would change the very nature of warfare, and not for the betterment of humankind."
Source: Live Science
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