Image Credit: WARLEAKS / Legion Magazine
MIT weapons, artificial intelligence and robotics researcher and founder of the Future of Life Institute (FLI) Max Tegmark has warned in a recent interview with The Next Web that the kind of autonomous “Slaughterbots” that militaries across the globe are developing may soon fall into the hands of civilians and drug cartels.
Tegmark said “They’ll be small, cheap and light like smartphones, and incredibly versatile and powerful… It’s clearly not in the national security interest of these countries to legalize super-powerful weapons of mass destruction.”
Also warning that AI weapons robots may have already killed soldiers “without gaining permission from a human operator”, as reported by The Next Web.
He went on to include Cartels in his warning, due to the potential for such “Slaughterbots” to become “the same price as an AK-47”. Tegmark continued on to say “Even if a judge has lots of bodyguards, you can fly in through a bedroom window while they’re sleeping and kill them… And it’s going to go far beyond that. Because pretty soon anyone who wants to knock off anyone for any reason will be able to do this.”
Slaughterbot Legal Loopholes
According to Futurism, the US, Russia, and China have all recently indicated that they are not in favour of an outright global ban on these “legal autonomous weapons” (LAWs) ahead of a controversial United Nations debate and resolution vote planned for this week.
This comes after the recent scrutiny on the US for the ethics surrounding the use of autonomous weapons in their military operations.
The US did agree to “a non-binding code of conduct.” This would outline some basic principles of ethical uses for LAWs, but there would be no legal obligations to abide by them, leaving the decision for an autonomous drone to kill, or not to kill, in the hands of an algorithm.