Elon Musk among 116 AI types calling on UN to nobble robo-weapons before they go all Skynet

Open letter to UN warns of 'weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways'

116 artificial intelligence and robotics experts have put their name to an Open Letter calling for the United Nations to work for a ban on autonomous weapons.

“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter says. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at 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.”

The letter concludes by saying “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

The signatories say they've penned the letter for two reasons.

Firstly, they feel that “As companies building the technologies in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics that may be repurposed to develop autonomous weapons, we feel especially responsible in raising this alarm.”

The second reason is that while the United Nations' of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons has established “Group of Governmental Experts” to consider autonomous weapons, that group's first meeting “has been cancelled due to a small number of states failing to pay their financial contributions to the UN.”

The meeting was due to convene today, August 21st, 2017, and its agenda .

Hence the letter's exhortation for members “to double their efforts at the first meeting of the GGE now planned for November” in the hope of "finding means to prevent an arms race in these weapons, to protect civilians from their misuse, and to avoid the destabilizing effects of these technologies."

"We therefore implore the High Contracting Parties to find a way to protect us all from these dangers."

Musk's previously issued similar warnings and argued for AI to be regulated sooner rather than later. ®

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