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Science & Technology

UN is set to tackle 'killer robots' in 2017

December 28, 2016 | Comment icon 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 | Comments (7)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Taun 6 years ago
Most of what the UN does (that gets published anyway) I disagree with... This is an exception... As horrible as war is (declared and undeclared), removing the human element from "Pulling the trigger" will only serve to make  it more horrible... Targets will become  nothing more than statistics, and mean as much as kill numbers in a video game...
Comment icon #2 Posted by brlesq1 6 years ago
To killer robots, we will be just a video game.
Comment icon #3 Posted by third_eye 6 years ago
Its been proposed by the committee and has been on the table for awhile now ... ~ UN org link ~ UN org Video link ~   And it covers a lot more than just 'killing'   livescience link ~
Comment icon #4 Posted by spartan max2 6 years ago
It's a admirable goal. Unfortunately like with all things of war once one country decides to make killer robots other countries will have to follow 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Zamor 6 years ago
Sometimes I wish that we still would be living in Caves, thinking fire was a mysterious and awesome thing! Zam  
Comment icon #6 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
Stephen Goose-bumps?    Yeah, anyway, I agree with him.    Even worse.  We have fun playing video games.  They'd be indifferent. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
Thread cleaned. Please can we have debate without the exchange of insults. Thank you.


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