Hawking and Wozniak warn over 'killer robots'

Published July 28, 2015
A group of top tech leaders, including British scientist Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, on Tuesday issued a stern warning against the development of so-called killer robots. -AFP/File
A group of top tech leaders, including British scientist Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, on Tuesday issued a stern warning against the development of so-called killer robots. -AFP/File

PARIS: A group of top tech leaders, including British scientist Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, on Tuesday issued a stern warning against the development of so-called killer robots.

Autonomous weapons, which use artificial intelligence (AI) to select targets without human intervention, have been described as “the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms,” wrote around 1,000 technology chiefs in an open letter.

“The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting,” they wrote.

“If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable,” the letter continued.

The idea of an automated killing machine, made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Terminator', is moving swiftly from science fiction to reality, according to the scientists.

“The deployment of such systems is, practically if not legally, feasible within years, not decades,” the letter said.

The scientists painted the Doomsday scenario of autonomous weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, dictators or warlords hoping to carry out ethnic cleansing.

“There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people,” the letter concluded.

The letter was presented at the opening of the 2015 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires.

Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and head of SpaceX, a private space-travel technology venture, also urged the public to sign up to the campaign.

“If you're against a military AI arms race, please sign this open letter,“ tweeted the tech boss.

Opinion

Editorial

Wise counsel
Updated 04 Jul, 2022

Wise counsel

Fuelling the fires of communalism for petty political gains is dangerous and can have a long-lasting impact on India’s stability.
Hazardous waste
04 Jul, 2022

Hazardous waste

GIVEN we have not yet developed streamlined systems for managing locally produced hazardous waste, we are inviting...
Mob ‘justice’
04 Jul, 2022

Mob ‘justice’

OVER the past few days, a string of deadly incidents has been reported from Karachi in which enraged mobs have...
Skyrocketing prices
Updated 03 Jul, 2022

Skyrocketing prices

Some sellers are seeking to take advantage of the prevailing disorder by creating artificial shortages or jacking up prices.
Flooding alert
03 Jul, 2022

Flooding alert

THE Gilgit-Baltistan government has issued an alert about the possible flooding of areas along river banks and...
Assaulting journalists
03 Jul, 2022

Assaulting journalists

ANOTHER day, another citizen roughed up for speaking his mind. The assault on veteran journalist Ayaz Amir by...