AI slaughterbots may wipe out humanity in deadly arms race, experts warn

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A deadly race between superpowers to create the world’s strongest killer robots could end up causing the destruction of humanity, experts have warned.

It comes after worried officials met at a UN conference in Geneva this month to discuss the rapidly increasing rate of technological advancement on lethal autonomous weapons (‘LAWS’), which are currently being worked on by military scientists in China, Russia and the United States.

These 'slaughterbots' are fully machine-controlled, using technology such as artificial intelligence and facial recognition to make their own kills.

Recent reports have shown that LAWS are being designed for use in ever more complex conflict situations, and are becoming capable of deciding for themselves whether a person should be executed.

Professor James Dawes of Macalester College has described a possible dystopian future where technological glitches could soon be responsible for massacres, telling the New York Post:

“It is a world where the sort of unavoidable algorithmic errors that plague even tech giants like Amazon and Google can now lead to the elimination of whole cities,”

“The world should not repeat the catastrophic mistakes of the nuclear arms race. It should not sleepwalk into dystopia.”

Political pressure to control the bots increased this year after a UN panel revealed in March that the first successful autonomous drone attack may have already occurred in Libya, where a Turkish-made weapon reportedly killed a target.

Responding to the evidence, experts from around the world shared their concerns in Geneva that major governments have not properly considered the dangers of unleashing the deadly technology.

But while some countries were in favour of a legally binding agreement to regulate or ban their use at the recent meeting, countries like India and the US balked at the suggestion.

One American official instead proposed a ‘code of conduct’ between different nations.

Some commentators have likened these bots' ability to execute using AI to the deadly machines run by the evil group Skynet in the 1980s blockbuster series Terminator.

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  • Drone
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Military
  • China
  • Russia

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