Stephen Hawking and Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, along with many other top tech gurus issued a severe warning today about the possibility of artificial intelligence in weaponry. Many people are taking to calling these autonomous machines ‘killer robots’, but they’re so much worse than that. Hawking believes that this artificial intelligence, if it were to be fully developed, could wipe humans off the globe.
The Rise of the Machines
Military leaders are urging the development and production of autonomous weaponry. These weapons will utilize artificial intelligence to operate without human intervention or discretion. They will be fully operated by their own processors and are said to be able to take out military adversaries using their own, programmed discretion. However, if these robots are left to their own devices, there’s no telling what or who they could determine as a military adversary.
The 2015 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
The 2015 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence was comprised of around one thousand advocates against the creation of autonomous weapons through artificial intelligence and top technology chiefs. They wrote an open letter, which stated that the automation of killer robots, like those seen in the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Terminator, is possible not in decades, but in years.
They wrote, “The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting,” and that this is, “the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.” The letter goes on to say that, “If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable.” These are scary thoughts, that autonomous machines could be attacking humans in the name of other countries. The scientists made it clear just how destructive the artificial intelligence in weaponry could be if it fell into the wrong hands, like those of terrorists or dictators.
AI can be Helpful, Just not as Weaponry
Hawking and the other leaders stated how useful artificial intelligence in machinery could actually be, even on the battlefield, so long as they are not in control of weapons. There are hundreds of ways autonomous machines could help people.
For one, the machines could be used as scouting tools. Equipped with various thermal devices, the autonomous machines could go around and tag enemy soldiers and civilians, so the military can more easily find what threats they face. Furthermore, autonomous machines could be programmed as military doctors in extreme cases. In any case, with a little thought, there are countless ways artificial intelligence could be beneficial to the military without being equipped with weapons.