AI experts make a terrifying film calling for a ban on killer robots

An AI watchdog supported by Elon Musk releases a horrifying new film warning about the dangers of autonomous weapons in the near future.


The Future of Life Institute, an AI watchdog organization supported by the likes of Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, has released quite a terrifying short film to warn about the dangers of technology gone awry.

The short film “Slaughterbots” imagines a dystopian near-future, not unlike that in the popular Netflix show “Black Mirror”. In the film, a CEO of a smart weapons company presents their new technology at a Silicon Valley-style extravagant product launch. Their tech is very good at killing, but only “the bad guys” as the CEO reminds several times. 

Of course, the AI-driven armed drone swarms developed by the company fall into the wrong hands and global chaos and destruction ensues. 

Watch what happens for yourself:

The purpose of the video is to support the call for an autonomous weapons ban at the UN. The video was launched in Geneva at a UN event hosted by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. AI researcher Stuart Russell presented the film at the event. He also appears at the end of the short, warning that much of the tech in the film already exists and we need to act fast.

Support for a ban on autonomous weapons has been voiced recently by 200 Canadian scientists and 100 Australian scientists. 

Earlier in the summer, 130 leaders of AI companies, including Elon Musk, signed a letter urging the UN to consider the threat of an arms race in lethal AI. 

Noel Sharkey of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control explained the group’s intentions: 

“The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is not trying to stifle innovation in artificial intelligence and robotics and it does not wish to ban autonomous systems in the civilian or military world. Rather we see an urgent need to prevent automation of the critical functions for selecting targets and applying violent force without human deliberation and to ensure meaningful human control for every attack.”

If you want to know more about stopping killer robots, check out the group’s site.

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