Hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals, many of them researchers and engineers prominent in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence, vowed on [July 18] never to apply their skills toward the creation of autonomous killing machines.
Led by the Future of Life Institute, a Boston-based nonprofit, as many as 160 AI-related companies in 36 countries, and 2,400 individuals in 90 countries, signed the pledge stating that autonomous weapons posed a “clear and present danger to the citizens of every country in the world,” and that they would not participate in their development.
Leading AI researchers Demis Hassabis, Stuart Russell, Yoshua Bengio, Anca Dragan, Toby Walsh, and Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk are among the individuals who also signed the pledge.
“We cannot hand over the decision as to who lives and who dies to machines,” said Walsh, scientia professor of artificial intelligence.
Engineers and scientists, in the wake of the U.S. government’s escalation of military drone use across the world, have warned that autonomous machines will be vulnerable to hackers, could be hijacked and turned on innocent populations, and that they will inevitably be easy for malicious actors to obtain.
The signatories of the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge further urged the UN, which will meet on the issue of autonomous weapons in August, to develop a commitment between countries that will lead to their prohibition.
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