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New UN-hosted talks set to tackle killer robots


Posted on Monday, 27 August, 2018 | Comment icon 18 comments

We don't want to end up having to deal with robots like these. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Dick Thomas Johnson
Experts from around the world have gathered in Geneva this week to find a solution to this ever-growing threat.
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.

This week hundreds of experts have gathered at the UN offices in Geneva in an attempt to find a way to define and regulate such systems before it's too late.

There's certainly no denying that autonomous weapon systems are still in their infancy, however it is also clear that robots capable of deciding when to pull the trigger are a very bad idea indeed.

Some countries have advocated a total ban on the development of such systems, while others are still unwilling to commit to such legislation - citing the lack of a clear way to define them.

On Monday, Amnesty International's Rasha Abdul Rahim noted that the technology was outpacing international law and that killer robots are "no longer the stuff of science fiction."

Getting every participating country to vote unanimously on a solution however has proven a challenge.

"We are coming closer to an agreement on what should be the guiding principles - guiding the behavior of states and guiding the development and deployment of such systems around the world," said Gill. "And this is not an insignificant outcome."

To date, a total of 26 countries have backed calls for a blanket ban.

Source: ABC News | Comments (18)

Tags: AI, Robots

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Wickian on 28 August, 2018, 0:40
For some reason I can easily picture robots forcing us into a caste society if they ever took over the world to "protect" us.
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin on 28 August, 2018, 2:24
If I'm gathering correctly what both the article and you people are saying, autonomous robotics are potentially  dangerous as AI technology increases. Ok, I'm a techie sort-of guy, so I can buy that. And, as pointed-out by you guys, it appears common-sense doubtful that any "world agreement" could EVER stop continued development of advanced AI robotics, either in the public or private sector. So, it appears we have a problem. Huh. Tough one.
Comment icon #11 Posted by UFOwatcher on 28 August, 2018, 17:29
Not sure if I would be more concerned about a killer robot programmed only to attack an enemy Vs an indiscriminate landmine that kills "anyone" that messes with it.
Comment icon #12 Posted by paperdyer on 28 August, 2018, 19:43
It's never a good thing to kill a person, even when you have to.  However I think the human race is the only species on the planet that doesn't get rid of their undesirable members.  We try to rehabilitate where we can.  This sets us apart from the other critter of the Earth.  Sometimes rehabilitation works. And when it doesn't we lock up the offenders after 3 offenses and throw away the key in a sense and have the tax payers pay the bill.  More humane than killing, maybe, but less practical.in my opinion.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Richie256 on 28 August, 2018, 23:02
Hi all, first post here. I was wondering if the Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics can truly be implemented into robots in real life (and never be bypass by the AI) or is it just pure science fiction?  
Comment icon #14 Posted by pallidin on 29 August, 2018, 4:13
Hi, Richie!!!! Welcome, and thanks for giving your thoughts.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Chaldon on 29 August, 2018, 14:58
How about wars? They are unavoidable, ain't they? Everyone say they must be. And there is no other choice. Many of us feel disgusted by military actions and at the same time we honour warriors as saviours. So sometimes we must kill? And sometimes a lot of people, without even knowing who they are and if they are guilty of anything. I am talking about weapons of mass destruction which we proudly demonstrate in military parades and military exercises. No, in this aspect we are even worse than other beasts - those at least do not dedicate their lives to killing and are not honoured for that. Sorr... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by TripGun on 30 August, 2018, 12:42
Nothing more autonomous than an ICBM if you ask me.
Comment icon #17 Posted by paperdyer on 30 August, 2018, 17:01
Wars can be avoided, but human natural has to change first.  As long as different diametrically opposed  ideologies exist, the threat of war will exist.
Comment icon #18 Posted by danydandan on 30 August, 2018, 17:02
I think we need to concentrate on "narrow AI" "general" AI is ok too. The real bad potential is with machine learning or learning machines that can rewrite their programming. AI in general are confined to their programming and can't escape or alter it's coding. Thus is only simulation of human intelligence and doesn't have 'free will'. However a learning machine in theory has 'free will'. I know they all really fall under the umbrella of AI but in reality learning machines would be like the kill all human machines in the movies, general or narrow AIs don't have the ability to behave like that,... [More]


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