A Who’s Who group of over 1,000 scientists and technologists, including such notables as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Steve Wozniak, has issued an open letter warning of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence and autonomous weapons. Published at Future of Life Institute, here’s the text in full:
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Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.
Many arguments have been made for and against autonomous weapons, for example that replacing human soldiers by machines is good by reducing casualties for the owner but bad by thereby lowering the threshold for going to battle.