More than 100 leaders in the field of artificial intelligence, including Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, on Monday urged the United Nations to ban lethal autonomous weapons.
The UN was scheduled to review the issue of weapons powered by artificial intelligence, often referred to as “killer robots”, on Monday, but the meeting was postponed until November because of unpaid fees from some of the 123-member nations that agreed to the talks.
The letter to the UN was signed by 116 robotics and technology specialists from 26 countries. The group is worried autonomous weapons will cause a transformational shift in warfare like the atomic bomb or the invention of gunpowder.
“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter said. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.”
The letter urges the UN to ban autonomous robotic weapons and squash any arms race before it starts.
“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways,” according to the letter. “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”
The 123-member nations of the UN’s Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons agreed in December to start formal talks about the issue of killer robots. Nineteen states demanded an outright ban at the time.
The signatories believe autonomous weapons should be controlled by the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
That UN agreement regulates the use of weapons like land mines, fire bombs and blinding laser weapons.
Source: Anadolu Agency