Hundreds of artificial intelligence experts have urged the Canadian and Australian governments to ban “killer robots”.
They say that delegating life-or-death decisions to machines crosses “a clear moral line”, and that the development of autonomous weapons will result in machines, rather than people, deciding who lives and who dies.
Such systems, including drones, military robots and unmanned vehicles, should be treated in the same way as chemical weapons, biological weapons and nuclear weapons, they say.
Toby Walsh, the organiser of the Australian letter and Scientia Professor of AI at UNSW Sydney, said, “The Canadian AI research community is clear: we must not permit AI to target or kill without meaningful human control.
“Delegating life-or-death decisions to machines crosses a fundamental moral line – no matter which side builds or uses them. Playing Russian roulette with the lives of others can never be justified merely on the basis of efficacy. This is not only a fundamental issue of human rights. The decision whether to ban or engage autonomous weapons goes to the core of our humanity.”