Tesla’s Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Google executive Demis Hassabis, and professor Stephen Hawking are among over 1,000 artificial intelligence experts who have recently signed an open letter warning the world about the dangers of weaponized robots and a “military artificial intelligence arms race” currently taking place between the world’s military powers.
According to the letter, “AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous weapons] is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.”
“The endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting,” the letter continues.
The current military technology available to the world’s governments is already a massive danger to the planet and everyone that lives here, and it is obvious, as the letter states, that the addition of artificial intelligence could make the global arms race significantly more threatening.
Many people have a hard time grasping how close this scenario is to becoming a reality, but the industry’s leading experts, who have a deep knowledge and understanding of the technology and how it is developing, can see the danger represented by military applications of artificial intelligence.
How this situation can actually be handled is extremely complicated because there is actually no ability for the general population of any country to ensure that their governments don’t develop military Robots.
According to the Guardian, Toby Walsh, professor of AI at the University of New South Wales, has suggested that the United Nations oversee a ban of these weapons, however a ban of this nature would only ensure that the countries in control of the UN and NATO would have exclusive access to weaponized AI. This is similar to the way the United Nations currently bans nuclear weapons while allowing larger NATO nations to continue developing them.
The solution to this problem will not be enacted by any of the governments or government-affiliated agencies that will benefit from the development of military AI, but a letter from over 1,000 of the industries leading experts is a start towards actually finding a real ground-up solution.