Two open letters have been sent by Artificial Intelligence experts to the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which was signed by 122 AI researchers, and to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which had 216 signatures on it.
Both letters are asking the leaders to make autonomous weapon systems illegal.
Here’s an extract from the Australian letter:
“Australia’s AI research community is calling on you and your government to make Australia the 20th country in the world to take a firm global stand against weaponizing AI. Lethal autonomous weapons systems that remove meaningful human control from determining the legitimacy of targets and deploying lethal force sit on the wrong side of a clear moral line.”
The Australian letter was organised by Professor Toby Walsh, who said:
“This is not only a fundamental issue of human rights. The decision whether to ban or engage autonomous weapons goes to the core of our humanity.”
He also goes on to say:
“These will be weapons of mass destruction. One programmer will be able to control a whole army. Every other weapon of mass destruction has been banned: chemical weapons, biological weapons, even nuclear weapons. We must add autonomous weapons to the list of weapons that are morally unacceptable to use.”
Both of the letters ask the leaders to call for this ban at the upcoming United Nations Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)”, which is set to take place at the United Nations later this month.
The public reaction is interesting, with many different viewpoints coming to the fore. Some people say that there’s no way we can stop the development of AI weapons – terrorists and rogue states might well develop them in defiance of international law. Some even say that AI ethics will be both superior to and more consistent than human ethics, and believe that integrating AI into human society will be for the better.
— Gisele Waters, Ph.D. (@watersgisele) November 11, 2017