Within a handful of years, humans will have the ability to create autonomous weapons — killer robots that can kill without the help of humans. Experts, including Elon Musk, are very, very concerned about this, which is why some have penned a letter to the UN and others have produced a video that demonstrates the kind of future we may be heading for.
In Slaughterbots, swarms of AI-controlled drones carry out strikes on thousands of unassuming, unprepared victims. Because they are machines, they have targeted precision and, as a result, are extremely deadly. What makes this video so terrifying is the recognition that the scenario is entirely plausible.
The campaign begins with a press event where the technology is unveiled for the first time. There is a buzz in the air, as nothing of the kind has ever been developed before. The speaker explains that the drones are able to take out “the bad guys” without any collateral damage, nuclear weapons, or troops on the ground.
All of the data a drone bot needs is a profile: age, sex, weight and height, uniform and ethnicity. Applause consumes the auditorium, as people are undoubtedly happy about the invention.
Before long, the technology lands in the wrong hands — like it always does. This results in an attack being waged on the United States Capitol building — except only politicians from one particular party are being targeted. The bots are then used to take out thousands of students worldwide, many of whom shared the same video advocating for human rights.
“The weapons took away the expense, the danger, and risk of waging war,” says one of the talking heads in the clip. It goes on to admit that “anyone” can use the bots to carry out such a strike.
Watch the video below:
Fortunately, this isn’t a reality — yet. But it soon could be. That’s the point of the short film, which leaves the viewer feeling numb, a bit sick, and somewhat frightened about the future.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an international coalition seeking to ban autonomous weapons, showed the video last week at the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Its aim is to ensure the UN passes legislation prohibiting the development of killer robots.
According to one of the experts behind the video, computer scientist Stuart Russell from the University of California, Berkeley, we already have all of the technologies portrayed in the video. The only step left is to stop people from miniaturizing them and pairing them with weapons.
Said Russell: “I’ve worked in AI for more than 35 years. Its potential to benefit humanity is enormous, even in defence, but allowing machines to choose to kill humans will be devastating to our security and freedom.”
He added, ”Thousands of my fellow researchers agree. We have that opportunity to prevent the future you just saw, but the window to act is closing fast.”
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Source: Science Alert