Elon Musk has pledged his support to a global ban on lethal artificial intelligence, with the Tesla and SpaceX founder the most prominent figure in a group of 116 robotics experts who believe that the killer robots will lead to a “third revolution in warfare.”
Musk and fellow experts from around the globe have called upon the United Nations to ban autonomous weaponry, releasing an open letter in order to warn of the dangers that AI warfare will present. “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter reads. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.”
Musk has been a vocal opponent of unregulated AI development, with the entrepreneur having regularly warned of the dangers that such technological advancements could lead to. His comments were later criticized by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who argued that those opposing AI advancement were “trying to drum up doomsday scenarios.” Musk fired back by stating that Zuckerberg’s “understanding of the subject is limited.”
Ryan Gariepy, Clearpath Robotics founder and the first person to sign the open letter, discussed the threat of AI weaponry in a statement (via CNN). He said: “Unlike other potential manifestations of AI, which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability.”
The open letter wants the High Contracting Parties to “find a way” to prevent the threat of AI weaponry, with those who have signed it eager to “offer technical advice” to the United Nations. It remains to be seen whether or not the UN will take Musk et al up on their offer, but with such a wide array of experts having given offered their support to them, it would be a wise decision for them to do so.