‘Killer robots’ and the world is trying to figure out what to do with them

When Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 character says: “I’ll be back” in 1984’s sci-fi hit “The Terminator,” few, if any, thought that the line would be a foresight into the future.

Fast-forward to 2018 and mankind is trying to figure out what to do and how to ‘killer robots’ and their inevitable role in the influence of mankind.

Experts from several countries are meeting at the Geneva offices of the United Nations this week to focus on lethal autonomous weapons systems and capabilities to investigate a possible regulation of them, among other issues.


In theory, fully autonomous, computer-controlled weapons do not exist yet, the UN officials say. The debate is still in its infancy and the experts have at times struggled with definitions. The United States has argued that it is premature to have a definition of such systems, and much less regulated.

Some groups say governments and armies should be taken to prevent the development of such systems, which have sparked fears and led some critics to suggest distressing scenarios of their use.

As the meeting opened Monday, Amnesty International, countries are encouraged to work in the direction of a ban.

Amnesty international-researcher on artificial intelligence Rasha Abdul Rahim said killer robots “is no longer the stuff of science fiction,” warning that technological advances are faster than international law.

The meeting follows a new report from the researchers say autonomous weapons would violate international law and that there is a “moral obligation” to ban them.

According to a new report by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International human Rights Clinic argues that such autonomous weapons, in violation of the Martens Clause — a provision of international humanitarian law which are widely accepted worldwide.

It requires emerging technologies to be assessed by the “principles of humanity” and “dictates of the public conscience” if they are not already covered by the other provisions of the treaty.


“The idea of the transfer of life-and-death decisions to be cold, compassionless machines without empathy or understanding are not able to meet the Martens clause and it makes my blood run cold,” Noel Sharkey, a roboticist who wrote about the reality of the robot war as far back as in 2007, told The Guardian.

Research firm IDC expects global spending on robots and drones will reach $ 201.3 billion in 2022, at an estimated $95.9 billion in 2018.

Through the years, a number of celebrities, including Elon Musk, the legendary theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and many others have warned against the rise of artificial intelligence.

In September 2017, Musk tweeted that he thought that AI could play a direct role in the cause of world War III. Musk’s thoughts were in response to the comments of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said that the country “who is the leader in this sphere [artificial intelligence] will become the ruler of the world.”

In November, prior to his death, Hawking his theory that AI could eventually “destroy” mankind if we are not careful with them.

The AP and Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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