First News - - Front Page - by Ian Eddy

SOME of the world’s big­gest ro­bot com­pa­nies have joined to­gether to ask the United Na­tions to “pro­tect us all” from the dan­gers of ro­botic ma­chines be­ing used to fight wars.

The list of 116 tech bosses in­cludes Elon Musk, the head of Tesla and Spacex, and Mustafa Su­ley­man, the founder of Google’s ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) com­pany, Deep Mind.

They are wor­ried that ad­vances in ro­bot­ics and AI will lead to gov­ern­ments and ter­ror­ists us­ing lethal au­tonomous weapons sys­tems (‘killer ro­bots’) against civil­ians. These are ma­chines that do not need a hu­man con­troller or pi­lot, and can take thede­ci­sion on their own to tar­get and kill.

“Once de­vel­oped, they will per­mit armed con­flict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than hu­mans can com­pre­hend,” the let­ter says.

The so­phis­ti­ca­tion of ro­bot­ics and AI has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally in re­cent years, so many peo­ple be­lieve that killer ro­bots will soon be seen in real life and not just in sci-fi movies.

One of the main ob­jec­tions to ro­bots be­ing used in bat­tles is that they do not have hu­man judge­ment. It’s also not clear who would be re­spon­si­ble if one killed in­no­cent peo­ple. Would it be the per­son that pro­grammed it? The com­pany that made it? The gen­eral who sent it into bat­tle?

Many crit­ics think that coun­tries will use this con­fu­sion to brush off re­spon­si­bil­ity dur­ing wartime, and that this will put more peo­ple’s lives in dan­ger.

Hack­ers are also a big worry, as some­one could do a lot of dam­age by hack­ing into a ro­botic plane or tank that is armed with mis­siles and ma­chine guns.

The US Navy has been test­ing the X-47B un­manned com­bat drone

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