Killer robots ‘a bigger threat to mankind than climate change’ warns AI expert

Advances in robotic weaponry may not yet have reached the terrifying levels predicted in James Cameron’s sci-fi thriller The Terminator, which premiered on this day in 1984, but as the eminent scientists who are backing the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots have warned, it’s only a matter of time.

U.S. Army General John M. Murray says that when it comes to fast-moving combat, humans will soon have to leave the drones to it because we just can’t respond at the speeds that AI can operate.

Killer AI drones are believed to have already hunted down and killed humans during an engagement between rival factions in the Libyan civil war, and Russia’s use of similar weapons in Ukraine is shrouded in secrecy.

READ MORE: Top AI experts warn groundbreaking new tech could spark 'nuclear-scale' catastrophe

Dr David Levy, a leading artificial intelligence expert, told the Daily Star that a "Greta Thunberg of the robot world" is needed to prevent global devastation.

While organisations such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil have become household names thanks to a series of high-profile protests, awareness of the AI threat is lagging behind.

“There are all sorts of possibilities of robots behaving badly, not just because the wrong data is used or a design fault,” Dr Levy said.

To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

Dr Levy said an AI weapons system could also be a threat because of "malicious intervention by people who have the skills to hack into robots and control it".

"There should be laws to deal with such situations but the whole process of developing laws is very slow," he said.

"I think this is a genuine fear of mine, that the speed and growth of AI is going to be so fast that it will completely outstrip the possibilities of Governments to consider the laws they need to bring in to deal with a robot future.

  • WW3 will start with 'cyber Pearl Harbor' and end in 'catastrophic defeat' for US

But during a 2021 National Security Commission discussion on AI, the panel’s vice-chairman Robert Work said because hostile states and terror groups were already experimenting with autonomous combat robots, the US had a “moral imperative” to keep pace with them and build its own Terminator Army.

He added AI-controlled weapons would make fewer mistakes in the heat of battle – making “friendly fire” incidents less likely and minimising casualties.

Lt. General John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Centre, says America’s rivals are forging ahead with AI-controlled weapons systems, or so-called “killer robots”.

Speaking to National Defense in March 2020, he said Russia had shown a “greater willingness to disregard international ethical norms and to develop systems that pose destabilising risks to international security".

  • AI battleships and killer drones: 'Terminator future' of war feared by conflict experts

In October 2018, Zeng Yi, a senior executive at the Chinese defense firm Norinco, gave a speech in which he said that "In future battlegrounds, there will be no people fighting", and that the use of lethal autonomous weapons in warfare was “inevitable".

Which sounds like good news, until we remember how often computers can give us a result we didn’t want.

And the threat of a rogue AI weapon need not come from a nation state. Former Pentagon AI weapons expert Paul Scharre warns someone could soon build “a simple, autonomous weapon in their garage”.

  • Killer AI could hit within our lifetime if they develop Artificial General Intelligence

Opponents of the technology fear a small programming error could snowball into a "Judgement Day" catastrophe.

As yet, there are few international accords limiting the use of killer robots.

Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch, says: “The failure of the current diplomatic talks to recommend a path forward on killer robots shows that countries need to pursue a different avenue to prohibit these weapons systems. The world can’t wait.”


  • Ukraine forces encounter new threat as Russia attacks with Iranian 'suicide drone'
  • China enters sci-fi warfare with unmanned helicopter drone’s first successful flight
  • Chinese scientists develop terrifying super drones that can hunt people as a pack
  • Super advanced 'Phoenix Ghost' kamikaze drones shipped to Ukraine in £620m arms deal

Source: Read Full Article