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The dark side of AI: Elon Musk and other leaders caution UN

Technology & Data

The dark side of AI: Elon Musk and other leaders caution UN


Elon Musk and 115 other AI and robotics specialists have urged the UN to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons.

At the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Melbourne, an open letter from AI and robotics leaders from around the world was released, urging the UN to recognise the dangers of AI-powered autonomous weapons and ban their use internationally.

The letter was signed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, as well as Google DeepMind founder Mustafa Suleyman, a number of Australian leaders in the robotics space, and similar minds from North America, Europe, Asia, the UK and South Africa.

“As companies building the technologies in AI and robotics that may be repurposed to develop autonomous weapons, we feel especially responsible in raising this alarm,” the letter begins.

It calls on the UN’s Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to establish a group of governmental experts (GGE) on lethal autonomous weapons systems. Numerous weapons systems, including automatic anti-aircraft guns and drones can already operate with minimal human involvement, and as within other fields of industry and tech, may completely be automated to carry out their specific tasks.

“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter continues. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought on 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. We, therefore, implore the High Contracting Parties to find a way to protect us all from these dangers.”

The letter commends the appointment of Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill of India as chair of the GGE.


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Image copyright: harveysart / 123RF Stock Photo

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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