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AI experts call for immediate action against autonomous weapons

AI experts call for immediate action against autonomous weapons

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

They added: "We do not have long to act".

Signed by several of the world's top AI minds, the letter was spearheaded by Walsh, a professor in AI at the University of New South Wales, who told Xinhua that he was concerned with what he felt was an "arms race" occurring around the world.

The group's first meeting is now planned for November. These weapons, also being called "killer robots", include drones, tanks, autonomous machine guns, and other forms of AI controlled weaponry. The group has warned that this arms race could usher the world in the "third revolution in warfare" after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

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The second reason is that while the United Nations' of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons has established "Group of Governmental Experts" to consider autonomous weapons, that group's first meeting "has been cancelled due to a small number of states failing to pay their financial contributions to the UN".

It was published today as researchers gather in Melbourne for the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence to discuss issues facing the emerging technology which is set to change the way we live. "I strongly support the call by many humanitarian and other organisations for an United Nations ban on such weapons, similar to bans on chemical and other weapons", he said in a statement alongside the letter.

"We need to make decisions today choosing which of these futures we want".

Walsh has previously travelled to speak in front of the United Nations in an effort to have the worldwide body prevent the proliferation of killer robots. "I strongly support the call by many humanitarian and other organisations for an United Nations ban on such weapons, similar to bans on chemical and other weapons", he said.

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"Nearly every technology can be used for good and bad, and artificial intelligence is no different". He added that the development of autonomous weapons "would be likely to lead to a very risky escalation", and that "it would hurt the further development of AI's good applications".

In reference to the signatories, the press release for the letter added, "Their companies employ tens of thousands of researchers, roboticists and engineers, are worth billions of dollars and cover the globe from North to South, East to West: Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK, United Arab Emirates and U.S.".

Co-signer Yoshua Bengio, a deep learning expert who founded Element AI, is concerned about more than just the immediate damage lethal autonomous weapons might cause. "This is vital for national and global security".

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