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‘Killer robots with AI should be banned’

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Addressing concerns regarding start of a “military arms race”, more than 1,000 robotics experts and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, spanning physicist Stephen Hawking, technologist Elon Musk, and philosopher Noam Chomsky have signed an open letter calling for the ban of offensive autonomous weapons, better known as “killer robots”.

Apart from hundreds of AI and robotics researchers from top-flight universities and laboratories, the signatories of the letter include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

“AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades”, says the letter put together by the Future of Life Institute, a group that works to mitigate “existential risks facing humanity”.

Autonomous weapons “have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms”, the letter further adds.

The weapons include armed drones that can search for and kill certain people based on their programming.

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Warning against the pitfalls of AI, the letter says that despite the institute seeing the “great potential [of AI] to benefit humanity in many ways”, the development of robotic weapons would prove useful to terrorists, brutal dictators, and those wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing.

As such the weapons do not yet truly exist, but the technology that would allow them to be used is under works.

By eliminating the risk of human deaths, robotic weapons would lower the threshold for going to war thereby making wars potentially more common, the signatories to the letter believe.

By building robotic weapons, the letter warns that a public backlash could grow and curtail the genuine benefits of AI.

Working to pre-emptively ban robotic weapons, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a group formed in 2012 by a list of NGOs including Human Rights Watch, is trying to get the Convention of Conventional Weapons to set up a group of governmental experts which would look into the issue.

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The Convention of Conventional Weapons in Geneva is a UN-linked group that seeks to prohibit the use of certain conventional weapons such as landmines and laser weapons which were pre-emptively banned in 1995.

Meanwhile, the UK has opposed a ban on killer robots at a UN conference, saying that it “does  not see the need for a prohibition” of autonomous weapons.

South Korea has unveiled similar weapons; armed sentry robots whose cameras and heat sensors allow detection and tracking of humans automatically, although the machines require a human operator to fire the weapons.

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Elon Musk Hints at Boring Company’s First Tunnel launch

"Electric skates will carry between 8 and 16 passengers, or a single passenger vehicle," according to the Electrek

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Tesla CEO Elon musk
Musk hints at Boring Company's first tunnel launch in US. (VOA)

Billionaire Elon Musk on Saturday tweeted a photograph with “The Boring Company” and “December 18” on it, indicating that his infrastructure and tunnel construction firm is set to launch its first tunnel under Los Angeles in the US.

Boring Company was earlier slated to launch the tunnel on December 10 and postponed it.

The company reportedly said they would offer the first public test ride with the electric transport system inside the tunnel.

Earlier in October, Musk had announced that the Boring Company was “almost done” with its maiden test tunnel and they would open the project to the public around December 10.

Elon Musk, tesla
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Elon Musk, the company is building a watchtower at the exit of the tunnel with bricks made from dirt dug out of the tunnel.

In Chicago, the company will reportedly build a “Loop” which they described on their website as: “Loop is a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric skates travelling at 125-150 miles per hour.”

Also Read- Rocket Lab is Set To Launch 10 NASA CubeSats

“Electric skates will carry between 8 and 16 passengers, or a single passenger vehicle,” according to the Electrek.

In order to implement this system, the company will have to dig the tunnels and deploy the infrastructure to move those “autonomous electric skates” inside the tunnels. (IANS)